Illness, Grief and loss Resources





Family Illness

Love and support from family and friends helps children feel safe when a family member is sick.  Specific information about illness, treatments, etc. may also help, as long as it is age-appropriate and only given if the child seems to need to know.  Honest, simple, and clear answers are best.  It is okay to say that you don't have all the answers.

The American Cancer Society has resources to help parents discuss cancer with their children.  Click here to access this.  Other information will be added to my website as needed. 



Grief and Grieving

Grief- is feelings of intense sorrow caused by loss.  We do not only feel grief when there is a death- moving, divorce, serious injury that causes permanent disability, and many other losses cause us to experience grief.

Mourning/Grieving- this is a process that people go through in handling grief.  There are many different descriptions of stages that people may pass through on their way to healing.  Some important things to remember about grieving:

  • It does not happen in a “straight line”- there are steps “backward” and “forward”, and we often feel many different things at the same time.

  • Grieving is a normal and healthy process, although it can be painful and difficult to watch.  People may only need help in managing grief when they become stuck or handle it in dangerous ways.

  • People mourn in different ways, and should be allowed to go through this process in their own way.  Just because a person handles grief in a way that does not fit your idea of mourning, it does not mean that they are insensitive, unstable, or wrong.

Links and Resources

My Grief Rights- information for adults to help understand how children grieve and how to support them in this.

Alex's Safe Harbour- resources and support offered to Nova Scotian families dealing with death.  Camps and other interventions are being planned for the near future.

IWK Bereavement Services- ongoing groups and support for parents, children and teens.  Pediatric Palliative Care Service 902-470-8942 or 470-7262.   

Some good books to help children who are dealing with grief and loss:

When Dinosaurs Die- overview of life, death, feelings, customs, etc. (Laurie Krasny Brown, Marc Brown)

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney- about pet loss (Judith Viorst)

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf- understanding life and death (Leo Buscaglia)

What on Earth Do You Do When Someone Dies- for upper elementary or junior high (Trevor Romain)

How I Feel- a coloring book for grieving children (Alan D. Wolfelt)

When Someone Very Special Dies- workbook (Marge Heegaard)

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