The theme of this year’s Children’s Grief Awareness Week is #SaytheWords. It is about helping us all to become aware of the importance of encouraging bereaved children and young people to talk about what they are experiencing, and about their need for support.

Here our Tŷ Gobaith Family Counsellor Vida shares her thoughts on why it can seem difficult to talk about grief, especially for children and young people.

We hope you find it helpful.

Vida says: When someone very special to us dies it can be very difficult to communicate to others what that is like for us and how we feel - there is such a mixture of feelings that it can be extremely confusing and overwhelming.

We can feel sad, angry, guilty, relieved, and many other feelings too, even glad. There are no right or wrong feelings.

What we feel after someone dies can be difficult to manage and sharing that can be scary. We might wonder: “Will they think I’m weird?”, “Will they think I don’t care?”, “Will they worry about me if I share how I feel? “Will it make things worse?”

A common reason why we do not share how we feel is that we want to protect others, especially those we love. We do not want to worry them, make things worse for them, or be a burden.

It is important to remember us sharing how we feel will not make them more sad. They are already sad because the person they, and we, loved has died and our lives will never be the same again (although this doesn’t mean they will never be good again). Sharing how we feel sends a message that it is ok to share and sharing grief can make us feel a bit less alone at the loneliest of times.

Another reason why we do not share how we feel is because we do not have the words or we are not used to sharing our feelings and don’t know how to. We may worry we could control of our emotions too.

Crying or yelling in anger is not a sign of losing control - they are normal ways to express grief. Of course we are sad and angry, our loved one has died.

One thing to remember is that you do not have to figure everything out for yourself. If you are worried about sharing your feelings or not quite sure how to, there are many organisations that can help including Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospices.

We offer bereavement support to children and families who have been affected by the death of a baby, child or young people up to the age of 25 years when they died. Our service is free and confidential and you can contact us on [email protected].

You can also find out more about talking about your feelings on the websites listed below.  Have a look if you can. Maybe even send a link of something you think is helpful to a friend or another family member.

If talking is too difficult at the start maybe you could think of using texts or emojis? And remember if you don’t find what you need here maybe try asking someone you trust at school for support, or to help you find the support you need.