By Michelle Halm, Director of Buddy’s Place
An estimated 1 out of 14 children in the United States will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they reach the age of 18. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the number of child grievers; an estimated 40,000 children had lost a parent to COVID-19 as of April 2021.
Children do not “forget” or “get over” the death of someone important. Grief is a lifelong process of learning to cope with feelings and find healing. As a parent or a caregiver, it’s important to remember that grief cannot be “resolved” or “fixed”. Providing your family with support is an integral part of learning to work through their feelings and finding acceptance.
There are many great resources that can help if you or someone you love is working through grief. Here are some resources we recommend:
General Information about Grief:
- What’s Your Grief
- National Alliance for Grieving Children
- CBEM – Children’s Bereavement Estimation Model
- Books for Children: When Dinosaurs Die, The Rabbit Listened
- Sesame Street Toolkit for Children
- Books for Teens or Young Adults: Resources from the Dougy Center and Fire in My Heart, Ice in My Veins: A Journal for Teenagers Experiencing Loss
- Books for Adults: Guiding Your Child Through Grief
- For Supporting Friends or Loved Ones: A Friend Indeed
Documentaries, Webinars and Podcasts:
- Free Documentary, Speaking Grief
- The Widowed Parent Podcast
- The Dougy Center Grief Out Loud Podcast
- What’s Your Grief Podcast
- Recognizing and Responding to Children’s Grief
Resources in Spanish:
- Helping Kids After a Death
- Talking to Kids When Anticipating a Death
- Make Your Emotions Move
- Storytelling “That Day”
- Emotions Map
- New York Life Bereavement Booklet
Grief Services at Pillars Community Health
To help grieving families in our communities, Pillars Community Health offers Buddy’s Place, a free grief support and bereavement program for children ages 4-18 and their families who are grieving the death of someone important in their lives. The program offers families a place to express their feelings, connect with others, and find healing in a supportive group setting. Children and teens participate in age-appropriate activities, while parents and caregivers learn how to help their families work through grief.
Family Resources offered through Buddy’s Place:
- Monthly Gatherings are held on the second Monday of each month for participating families. These are currently being held in-person at local parks in Western Springs to maintain social distancing.
- 8 week Sessions are held every spring and fall. The next fall session will begin on Tuesday, September 14th.