Posts

How to Tell Your Kids Their Grandparent Died?

You may find it difficult to break the news to your children when one of your parents dies. The death of a grandparent is heartbreaking, to say the least, especially if Nana or Popo frequently babysits the kids. Your first instinct may be to sugarcoat your words to shield the kids from the pain of death. And that’s natural because, as much as possible, all parents want to protect their kids from the harsh realities of life. No one can fault you for wanting to make the loss more bearable.

However, it is a great disservice to your kids when you withhold the truth. Psychologists say that it’s possible to communicate with children about something as terrible as death. Being honest with the kids about what’s going on can help them process the changes in your family’s routine and help them recover. Here are some helpful suggestions so you can speak to your kids in a clear, loving way that they will understand. 

Factors to Consider

Before sitting down with your kids for a family meeting, consider the ages of the children and their maturity levels. You can direct the tone of your conversation based on their capability to accept and understand the situation. Their emotional maturity will determine the kinds of words you can use. 

As the conversion develops, allow your kids to ask questions. Reply with honest answers that they can readily understand. You can provide examples to make it easier for them to process harsh concepts. Speaking in this manner will prevent confusion as your kids process the death. 

Use Clear Language

When you discuss the issue with your children, be careful with your words. Don’t use language that may mislead them into believing that their grandparents are temporarily gone and will be coming back. Words like, “Nana left us” or “We’ll see her again someday” could confuse your children. They might expect that their beloved grandparent will come back. For example, you can emphasize that Nana can no longer watch recitals or babysit to set expectations. 

It would also help to avoid euphemisms like saying Popo is sleeping because kids could form a negative association with sleep. Using flowery language to describe death may backfire. Don’t be afraid to call death what it is because it is a natural part of the life cycle. Besides, if your kids end up confused, they may think you’re hiding something and they could end up resenting you for lying even if this was not your intent. 

Explain Your Own Feelings

It may be difficult for kids to process the loss so give affirmation that it is okay to feel sad. Discuss your own feelings so the kids know that it may take time for things to be back on track. Tell them what will happen in the coming days, especially if there will be a viewing and funeral services. If they’re old enough, you can describe how the body will be in a nice casket surrounded by flowers and how many other guests will come to pay their last respects. 

Bear in mind that children take their cues from their parents. So use this time to reassure your kids that this sadness will not last forever. Though you feel immense grief and things may not be okay now, things will get better over time. You can look through old photos and emphasize how the memories with their deceased grandparent will be in your hearts forever. In time, the kids will begin to understand and accept the devastating loss.  

Give Them Time to Digest the Information

Since children are not as emotionally mature as adults, it may take time for the news to sink in. And that’s okay because even adults have a hard time accepting death. Be patient and give them time. Don’t bombard your kids with too many vivid details. Be prepared to explain a few times until they fully grasp what’s happening. 

It’s okay if you fumble with the words because explaining death is really complex and difficult, especially if you have never done this before. The ultimate goal is to make your kids understand that their grandparent is gone for good and is not coming back. And if they cry, give them comfort and offer consoling words. You may even shed tears with your kids because releasing emotions is a healthy way to cope. 

Explore Grief Resources

Allow your children to explore their feelings. Apart from giving hugs and kisses, you can offer grief support by encouraging them to watch children’s educational shows on death or reading books on the same theme. Bonding with your children as you mourn the death of a parent may even help with your grief process. 

If your kids are still very young, you can watch with them or read the books to them. Answer queries in a manner they can understand. If they are old enough, they may want their own quiet time to explore the materials alone and discuss the contents whenever they feel ready. Keeping communication lines open will allow you to assuage your kids’ worries and ease their fear of death and the unknown.  

Listen to Your Children

Listen to what your kids have to say. If they have any questions or concerns, do your best to patiently answer. Most of all, stay attuned to non-verbal communication. If your kids are particularly close to the deceased grandparent, they can end up acting up in ways that are out of their norm. For example, they may end up crying a lot, not eating, showing signs of withdrawal, or lashing out aggressively. 

All of these behaviors may be a way for them to cope and could be a part of their grief journey. When this happens, sit down with your kids so they can vent their emotions. Try creative ways to deal with their feelings such as drawing or writing in a journal. Make them feel safe so they can open up to you. They need to know they can count on you to listen and be there for them, especially now that they feel insecure because their normal has been shaken up with the death of their grandparent. Continue having open talks with your kids so you can process the loss and help them heal. 

How to Tell Your Kids Their Grandparent Died?

You may find it difficult to break the news to your children when one of your parents dies. The death of a grandparent is heartbreaking, to say the least, especially if Nana or Popo frequently babysits the kids. Your first instinct may be to sugarcoat your words to shield the kids from the pain of death. And that’s natural because, as much as possible, all parents want to protect their kids from the harsh realities of life. No one can fault you for wanting to make the loss more bearable. Read more

How to Reconfigure Your Life After the Loss of a Loved One

When a loved one dies, it results in many different changes for the surviving family members. These changes can range from simple ones like taking on more household chores to more drastic changes such as modifying future plans or even modifying priorities. Getting used to these changes may take many months because getting out of one’s comfort zone and adapting to a new normal is usually fraught with challenges.  Read more

How to Cope With Your 1st Mother’s Day When Mom Just Passed Away?

Celebrating your very first Mother’s Day when your family just recently concluded the funeral services is undoubtedly a painful experience. It may even be more heart-rending than other holidays like New Year or Christmas spent without a loved one. Why? Because Mom’s Day is especially for her, making your loss appear more glaring. 

When it comes to first celebrations after a death, emotions tend to be raw, heavy, and messy. Mother’s Day is even more melancholic because it is a day that is supposed to revolve around the role she played in your life. Sadly, she is not present, and coping can feel seemingly impossible, especially after a loss. However, you must do your best to get through this holiday in an emotionally and mentally healthy state. 

Pretending this day is just an ordinary one and ignoring it may only hurt you more. Bottling up your emotions could eventually lead to a future meltdown. That’s why it’s important to honor this annual celebration because even though she’s no longer physically present, her spirit lives on in you, her family. Here are some ideas for Mother’s Day to help you cope and celebrate at the same time. 

Continue With Family Traditions

Holidays are a day for embracing family traditions. Perhaps, you make your mom breakfast in bed or take her out to her favorite cafe for waffles and espresso. This could have been a ritual for you and other family members. Some of these places could already be in your family’s list of favorites so once you’ve discovered them, why would you drastically change things? 

Instead, you may consider continuing the tradition because doing routine activities provides a sense of normalcy which you need in these difficult times. Doing so may feel very painful without mom, but going on usual jaunts and old hang outs is one way to pay homage to the memories you made with her. Furthermore, bringing everyone together to relive family traditions is better than being alone. Sharing experiences will help ease loneliness. 

Shop for Presents for Other Members of the Family

Typically, most people celebrate Mother’s Day by buying mom presents, taking her out to lunch, or selecting a sweet greeting card. Even though your mom is no longer around, it doesn’t mean that this tradition has to end. Instead, continue with the spirit of giving by showering your other family members with gifts. Surprise them with meaningful tokens that they will love. 

The act of selecting the items can provide a brief reprieve from your sorrow. Besides, choosing a gift for them means you are thinking of them in your trying times. This creates a positive atmosphere, which can be very contagious. It may make them smile and alleviate the pain, especially on this day wherein they miss mom a little bit more.

Plant a Memorial Garden

People usually honor their mom with flowers on Mother’s Day. Visiting her grave and offering funeral flowers can be a substitute while listening to memorial songs. If you want to make it a happier occasion, you can plant her a memorial garden. Although planting flowers next to her grave may be a great idea, you must first check with the cemetery director if it’s allowed. 

Alternatively, you can plant her a garden right in your own backyard. The month of May is the perfect time to plant flowers because of the pleasant weather. If you want something lasting, you can opt for perennial plants that require little attention or even a tree. These plants offer a sense of permanence that can comfort your soul. At the same time, they provide positive contributions to the environment by providing oxygen and filtering out pollutants. This is definitely one sweet and productive way to honor your mother. Besides, studies show that “earthing” or touching the ground is therapeutic and healing. 

Carry on With Her Activities

Does your mother support any charities or non-profit organizations? Continue with her advocacy and let this be her legacy. You can continue to give back to your community in her memory. Besides, volunteering, even if only for a day, is one way to infuse positive vibes into your life. This is something that can heal your broken heart. 

Use this worthwhile gesture to divert your attention and assuage your longing for your mother. Working with a charity your mom supported is a sentimental and meaningful way to honor her this Mother’s Day. More importantly, working with the underprivileged sector will help you realize that in spite of your mother’s death, you still have so many blessings in life to feel grateful for. 

Be Open to Making New Traditions

Most people who have lost a loved one will say that the first holidays are usually the hardest to get through. Without your mother, you have a new sense of normal. Hence, you could try to establish new traditions to help you cope with your grief and loss. Though it may be difficult at first, the passage of time can foster healing. As future Mother’s Day celebrations come, your wounds will be less raw and it will be easier for you to celebrate. 

Of course, trying new things doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten your mom at all. Fond memories will find a way to resurface, even if you carry on with new traditions. All of these things allow you to carry your mother’s spirit into the future. Even if you cannot celebrate this day with her physical body, her spirit lives in you always. 

Is black the only color I can wear to a funeral service?

Selecting what outfit to wear can be daunting if you are attending the funeral services of a loved one or friend. Traditionally, black is the go-to color choice that is associated with funerals. However, keep in mind that all funeral ceremonies are unique. It can vary depending on the wishes of the deceased, the traditions of the family, the cultural heritage, and the religious affiliation of the dead. 

Read more

How to pen a memorable epitaph?

Are you in charge of planning a funeral for a loved one? You will certainly have many things on your to-do list, and one of them is the epitaph. This is the inscription on the headstone or grave marker that honors the memory of the departed. The use of these epitaphs can be traced back to ancient Egypt, Greek, and Roman Empires circa the 1700s.  Read more

Important Guest Etiquette to Remember When Attending a Virtual Funeral

Due to the current pandemic, many places have enforced stringent quarantine and social distancing measures. Hence, it may be hard to congregate and travel to attend a funeral. For this reason, many bereaved family members are opting for virtual funeral ceremonies to honor their dead loved ones. If you happen to get invited to a virtual funeral, there is important etiquette for you to follow in order to not disrupt the service.

If you are wondering if a lot of rules have changed in the virtual funeral scene compared to stand-in ceremonies, read on. Here are some of the things you need to take note of to save yourself from being that kind of guest. After all, you don’t want to cause distraction and interrupt poignant moments. Remember, a virtual funeral is a special time to honor the memory of the deceased, so remaining on your best behavior is crucial.

Be Mindful of the Time and Don’t Be Late

 

Some people believe that it’s fashionable to be late. However, that uncanny rule never applies to funeral ceremonies, whether in-person or online. Since the funeral is held in the virtual world, it may be easy to feel worry-free and lax as you don’t need to travel far, drive, and find parking. Despite that, it is still important to set a schedule and be on time in attending the ceremony. For best results, put a calendar reminder on your phone a day before the virtual gathering. You must also put one an hour before the event so you won’t forget.

Remember, it is advisable to turn on your device and run your browser at least 10 minutes before the announced time. You want to give your computer time to load. Moreover, this ensures you will have time to troubleshoot and fix any unforeseen glitches. Certain platforms also require that the host press the accept tab to let anyone into the call. It will be difficult for them to see your join call request once the ceremony has started.

 

Make It a Priority to Avoid Distractions

Be fully present during the virtual funeral program. Remember, this is your last tribute to the deceased, so giving an hour or two of your time is not a huge imposition. Cast aside social media activity for now, and resist the temptation to multitask while facing the computer. Show up to the event as if you were attending in person – giving the funeral services your full attention. Be an active participant and join in singing the funeral songs and other activities.

 

Take the Effort Dress Appropriately 

Some virtual funerals are interactive, and you may be asked to turn your camera on. Since people will see you on-screen, it is important to dress appropriately. It is preferred that you wear a shirt color that matches the motif (if there is one) attached to your invitation. Otherwise, neutral colors like gray, white, and black are also advisable. Keep a tidy appearance by fixing your hair and applying makeup if you’d like. Give it the same effort and preparation as you would an in-person funeral.

 

Choose a Background If Needed

Before logging onto the virtual funeral, check your surroundings. Disordered surroundings may distract other attendees from the service. If you cannot clean your background or move to a more clean space in your home, consider using the available backgrounds on-call platforms. It doesn’t need to be fancy as the purpose of such is to obscure clutter.

 

Keep Yourself on Mute

Unless you are one of the scheduled speakers, keep yourself on mute. Only un-mute yourself when asked to do so. Having your mic on while others do the same will cause interference and audio feedback. If you are speaking, do so slowly and clearly to accommodate people with slow internet speeds. It would be best to use a microphone for clarity, especially if you are one of the special participants. The built-in computer mic is not as vibrant, so using an external one assures that everyone will hear what you say. And, of course, be very careful and thoughtful about the comments you make because things cannot be unsaid and unheard.

 

Do Not Do Other Things

Since the funeral is conducted virtually, it may be tempting to open up your phone, sneak a snack, or answer notifications on your gadget. Do not do it. As much as possible, be present and attentive to the ceremony as it is the right and respectful thing to do. If you need to answer an urgent call, turn off your mic and video cam before answering.

 

Remember to Extend Support Even After the Virtual Services

You must keep in mind that grief takes time. Make it a point to check in with the bereaved. Connect via phone call or messenger. You can also make your gestures more personal by sending flowers or food. These small tokens convey your deepest sympathies and support. Though it may be difficult to attend any real-life memorial service for a dear relative or friend, you should not miss the chance to say your final farewell online to get full healing and closure.

 

What is the proper cellphone etiquette at funerals?

Today, almost 5 billion people in the world own a mobile phone. Clearly, smartphone use is intertwined with daily life, so you may forget to turn it off. After all, staying connected in this digital world remains the top priority. It is evident when you walk down the street or eat dinner in a restaurant. People are just continually texting or scrolling through their social media profiles. But, in certain cases, like funeral services programs, you must draw the line. The last thing the bereaved family wants to hear is your cellphone’s ring tone during a heart-warming eulogy. Read more

5 Quotes on Death to Live By

The death of someone we love is an emotionally devastating experience. The pain can’t be simply put into words and we’re oftentimes left with so many questions. We feel confused and this is normal. This could be the reason why eulogies are so difficult to deliver. That is because not only are we to contend with our grief on a personal level, but we’d also have to stand in front of people who feel the same way while trying to make sense to them what just happened when we ourselves might still have no clue. However, people depend on our strength, especially in this most trying time. In a time of internal turmoil, sometimes, we must be the ones people have to depend on or else everybody won’t be able to stand what little ground they have. Read more

Nessun Dorma (Various Artists)

Italian Text

Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma!

Tu pure, o, Principessa,

nella tua fredda stanza,

guardi le stelle

che tremano d’amore

e di speranza. Read more