How can I provide opportunity for my children to heal after the death of their father?

Provide an open, honest atmosphere in which it is easy for your children to ask questions and express their thoughts and feelings. You have to understand how your children are interpreting their experience with your husband’s death. Asking them specific questions enables them to tell you what they are thinking and feeling. The questions need to be age appropriate. One question could be: What would you like to know? Sitting on the floor, having eye contact is very important. Using appropriate coloring books to describe what has happened is very helpful for young children. Children have imaginations. Be truthful but do that as simply as you can. Don’t say that your husband is sleeping, or that he has gone away. Often children will think that their parent will wake up or since they have gone away, they will return. If your children will be attending the viewing, memorial, or funeral service, describe to them what they will be seeing. Pictures are a great help. If they desire to do something, drawing a picture (keeping a copy for themselves) is a wonderful way of saying good bye. They can write notes or put some special object (toy) in the casket that will go with their dad.

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