A message beyond death when a girl’s pain is so great.
Jacie was just 4 years old when she lost her father in the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, according to her mother Lisa in the note published by the Newsner portal.
His daughter began to behave strangely after her father’s funeral. Her mother noticed that she locked herself in the room, even when she was only a child.
In addition, Lisa observed that her daughter talked alone, when she asked who she was talking to, Jacie answered with dad, but this was not all the girl said to her mother, but she also talked with her dad’s classmates.
When Jacie told her the details of the conversation she had with her deceased father, she began to believe that perhaps it was happening since the girl knew things about her father’s companions, whom she had never seen in person or in a photo until he had the conversation with his mother.
On September 9, 2001, 2,996 people died, including Jacie’s father and his co-workers; an incident that changed and affected the lives of many people in the world.
Jacie referred to her father’s friends as “the boys.” And although this is not something that is often heard and there is also no way to check if Jacie could actually talk to her father or was the product of her imagination, it never ceases to amaze us and open the question of how do we help a child with such a great loss, when sometimes they do not have the ability to understand what happened?
How to help a child when one of his parents dies
I remember having a similar experience as a child, in my father’s house, in the backyard my parents built a small apartment for rent.
A family with their three children rented the apartment. It did not take a week of being housed that the father of the family suffered cardiac arrest and died there in that small apartment.
For both families it was a paralyzing experience at first, but then our lives were forever changed.
The youngest daughter of this marriage was 5 years old, I remember how sad the girl looked, so one day my sister and I, who were 6 and 8 years old, decided to offer her to write a letter to her father, I think it was the best idea that we came up with.
This simple gesture brought peace and joy to the heart of this little girl and to ours as well.
What the experts say:
My sister and I did not know anything about psychology, but obviously we were not so far from the correct thing, because according to the psychologist Silvia Álava, director of the Children’s area of the Álava Reyes Center, explains the following:
«What the child must always do is say goodbye, but he can do it through a letter, going a posteriori to the place where the body rests or doing it figuratively … when a time has passed. The farewell is key to be able to start the duel, but this does not imply, in any way, that the farewell must be of the present body.
Tips to help your child process the moment
The specialist also adds that although there is never a good time to transmit news like this, it is important to inform the child of what is happening. She suggests that it be the other parent who brings the news, and if it is considered prudent according to the child and his age, he can attend the funeral, although as she specifies, there are other ways to say goodbye to a person without having to see the body in the funeral.
Some ideas on how to accompany a child at this stage:
Answer your questions, simply but truthfully.
Give space to emotions, allow him to cry, get angry or just be sad.
Recognize emotions, affirm when faced with an emotion, “I know you are sad” or “angry”.
Help with feelings of guilt. Children often take responsibility for the losses of loved ones, thinking that they misbehaved.
Over time, support the sense of family even with the loss of one of them, that is, even though an important member of the family is missing, they are still a family.
Death a difficult concept to accept, even for adults
Remember these 3 ideas, a concept that young children cannot understand:
- That the person “will not come back”, only between 6-7 years the child understands that not only is he “asleep”, also each child reacts differently to the situation.
That is why very often children create their own ways of dealing with pain or loss, such as the girl in the story, talking with the deceased is a skill for pain management, regardless of whether really or not talking to his father.
Beyond your religious belief, and you will surely find peace in your heart and you will be able to share it with your children, young children are still small and sometimes we complicate things more, adding more information that is not concrete or visible to a little one.
That is why he takes advantage of previous opportunities such as the loss of a pet, or the death of a known but not very close person, these are experiences that one as a parent can take and take advantage of so that young children know the meaning of death.
Another important concept is that young children do not understand that “the body of the person no longer needs to eat or is cold”, on the contrary they continue to think that their body has the same basic needs as when it was alive, that is why they often mention that the person is cold “down or” hungry “, comments to be taken with a lot of love and understanding.
They cannot believe the cause of death, especially if the deceased person suffered an accident or a fatal illness, this is where the feeling of guilt of the little ones often derives.
Accepting the loss of a loved one is something difficult even for us as adults, we can now imagine how traumatic it can be for the little ones because they do not have acquired or developed the necessary notions for at least a complete understanding of what is happening. Your religious faith, understanding, patience and TIME is what will help you process together with your little ones this sad but real moment of life.