What is Grief?
A loss experience, such as death, divorce or separation, can be classified as a crisis that propels us into the grief process. The grief experience involves the entire person. It is emotional, physical and spiritual. Grief happens inside, where feelings live. We cannot think about grief, we can only feel it.
With each significant loss, the grief process must be allowed to happen. When it is ignored or “buried within”, these emotions remain “unresolved grief” and can have a destructive effect on one’s quality of life.
For children to survive emotionally from a death or divorce in the family, they need sufficient time to mourn their loss. Young children do not even possess the vocabulary to put into words the intense hurt that they are feeling. Adolescents too, have a difficult time grappling with the loss because it is coupled with the complicated developmental changes of their age.
Grieving youth need caring adults to listen and support them while they express their feelings, sort through their confusions and begin the healing process towards acceptance. Participating in a support group with others experiencing the same struggles and feelings can also be beneficial. During these times, even the most caring of parents are often too immersed in their own pain to be able to respond very well. Consequently, children and adolescents need to find other adults to assist them during this healing process.
– excerpted with permission from “Compassionate Companion” by Suzy Marta
Are you interested about starting a Rainbows Registered Site in your community?
Rainbows programs are offered free of charge to children and youth in the communities that have Rainbows in their schools, places of worship, Military Family Resource Centres or social service agencies. The National Office offers the training for the volunteer Facilitators and provides the materials used by the volunteers and the participants. (The training and materials must be paid for by the Rainbows Registered Site). The Site carefully selects and screens appropriate adult volunteers to run the peer support groups at the site and provides safe, comfortable meeting rooms for the small groups to meet.
Begin by talking to your school principal or counsellor, your spiritual leader or agency manager about the need to offer our program to children and youth at your location. As a prospective Rainbows Site, you require the backing of your administrator to provide the human and financial resources to offer these groups.
Children and adolescents grieving a loss NEED SUPPORT as well as HEALING. These needs touch an ever increasing number of our youth each year. Rainbows curricula, initiated and implemented as a PROCESS are effective when used by clinicians and non clinicians alike. Thereby, we are providing the greatest number of children and adolescents with personal encouragement and nurturing unavailable in most settings. For this reason, sites are asked to prepare for the use of our curricula in accordance with the Policies and Guidelines set down in our Handbook.
We have compiled a list of great books which could be a great resource to help you and your loved ones dealing with loss. These books are available through most major book retailers and may also be available at your local library.