What happened when your grandparent died

When a close relative dies, children are often irritated and upset. You don't understand the world anymore. Sensitive handling can make the grief process easier.

A situation that sooner or later occurs in every family: A loved one dies, e.g. a grandparent, and the parents are faced with the challenge of making their children understand what happened. Mag. Vera Wimmer, group leader at Rainbows and responsible for this topic, says: “The model for the grief of children are the close caregivers, in this case the parents.” How the parents live the grief influences the children. Above all, it is important to use the right words. “The grandpa has died and cannot come back. It has to be clear that you can never play with your grandpa again. ”If it is right for the parents, the grandpa can also be in heaven. Under no circumstances should the deceased be assigned educational tasks. For example: "Grandpa would be very happy now if you ate everything. You know - he's watching you from the sky. "

In principle, children of all ages can and should be included in the farewell and funeral ceremonies. Most of them know and feel very well whether they will see the deceased again and whether they would like to be there at the funeral. However, you have to prepare the children well so that they can imagine what to expect and so that they can e.g. B. can also draw drawings for the deceased beforehand or choose flowers. During the funeral itself, the children should be accompanied by a trusted person who is not so emotionally burdened. Wimmer: “Children don't necessarily have to be spared. They have their own way of balancing out emotional stress. If it becomes too much for them, they start playing or withdraw from the situation. ”They should be allowed to do so.

It often becomes difficult when a parent dies or is suddenly torn from life. “I hear the words 'unfair' or 'mean' very often in my work. The children are frustrated, feel helpless and react aggressively. ”Sometimes behavior changes. For example, children want to go back to their parents' bed, they suffer from insomnia or freeze emotionally. Wimmer: “The abnormal must be allowed to be normal in such an exceptional time. The children first have to adapt to the changed life situation. ”It is important to accompany the children with empathy in this process. If the deceased was particularly important to one area of ​​the child's life, it would be nice if another adult could offer himself / herself. If the deceased dad played football regularly with his boy, it can help the grieving child if someone makes himself available.

Four points are important:

  • answer children's questions about the death of the person according to their age, as best one knows and can;
  • show them ways in which they can foster memories and attachment to the person;
  • Open to talking about sadness, anger, fear, guilt;
  • to give them a future perspective and hope;

Rainbows can also help here. Wimmer: “We are happy when people call us, even if it is only to clarify whether they are dealing with the subject in a child-friendly manner. Getting confirmation here creates security and that is very important. ”Immediately after a loss, it makes sense to start with an individual or a family companion. With a little distance from the death, children are also able to take part in a group. “It helps that the children realize that they are not the only ones who miss someone very much. They also learn from each other and thus recognize a light at the end of the tunnel. Together with the others you will find beautiful and strengthening rituals, so that the deceased can keep a coherent place in the life story of every child. "