Resources to Support Families

These resources can be used by parents or caregivers to support their children when someone in their life is dying or has died.

Talking to Children about Life-Threatening Illness

Talking to Children about Life-Threatening Illness

When someone has a life-threatening illness, their whole family is impacted by the many changes, concerns, and uncertainties. Adults may choose to avoid talking to children about the illness to protect them from pain and distress. However, consider that children can typically feel when something is going on in their family even when they are not told. When they are not informed, they often feel excluded, alone, and isolated. They may even think that they have caused the anxiety and unsettled state of their family.

Read More

Child & Teen Grief after a Suicide

Child & Teen Grief after a Suicide

A child or teen’s grief is impacted by many factors, including the circumstances of the death. A death by suicide can merit special considerations for the bereaved due to its associated stigma, sudden nature, and the confusion that often follows. Unfortunately, because of people’s discomfort with the subject of suicide, young people can be left unsupported and isolated.

Read More

Child Grief: What They Understand, How They Respond, and Ways You Can Help

Child Grief: What They Understand, How They Respond, and Ways You Can Help

Children grieve differently than adults: they grieve in doses, alternating between times of play and intense emotions. A child’s age, developmental stage, and experiences will determine their understanding of death and ability to cope with the death of someone in their life. As well, children often “re-grieve” the loss as they move through life.

Read More

Suggested Books for Families

The book titles below will link you to Goodreads. There, you’ll find reviews and information about the book. Most of these books can be borrowed from the Library or purchased from book stores.

A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One

by Phyllis R. Silverman

But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Families After a Suicide

by Barbara Rubel

Caregiving And Loss: Family Needs, Professional Responses

by Kenneth J. Doka and Joyce D. Davidson

Catching Your Breath in Grief: ...and grace will lead you home

by Thomas Attig

Companioning the Grieving Child: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers

by Alan D. Wolfelt

Everywhere and All Around

by Pimm van Hest

Healing a Teen's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers

by Alan D. Wolfelt

Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies

by Janis Silverman

Helping Children Grieve, Revised Edition: When Someone They Love Dies

by Theresa Huntley

Fatherloss: How Sons of All Ages Come to Terms with the Deaths of Their Dads

by Neil Chethik

Finding the Words: How to Talk with Children and Teens about Death, Suicide, Homicide, Funerals, Cremation, and other End-of-Life Matters

by Alan D. Wolfelt

I Miss You: A First Look At Death

by Pat Thomas

Ida, Always

by Caron Levis

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings

by Jo Witek

Life Is Like the Wind

by Shona Innes

Never Too Young to Know: Death in Children's Lives

by Phyllis R. Silverman

Rafi’s Red Racing Car: Explaining Suicide and Grief to Young Children

by Louise Moir

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

by Sheryl Sandberg, Adam M. Grant

Talking about Death: A Dialogue Between Parent and Child

by Earl A. Grollman

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss

by Pat Schwiebert

Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding, Support and Guidance

by Gloria C. Horsley, Heidi Horsley

The Invisible String

by Patrice Karst

The Invisible Web: A Story Celebrating Love and Universal Connection

by Patrice Karst

The Memory Box: A Book About Grief

by Joanna Rowland

Whimsy's Heavy Things

by Julie Kraulis

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

by Nancy Tillman

When Someone Very Special Dies: Children Can Learn to Cope with Grief

by Marge Eaton Heegaard

Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children

by Doris Stickney

The Rabbit Listened

by Cori Doerrfeld