Making Time To Listen To Bereaved Children

It’s funny how children tend to want to grow up quickly and be older than they actually are. Sometimes I think it’s as though their self worth is defined by the number of years and months that have passed since they first saw the light of day.

‘Well I’m six anyway,’ I’ll hear my son lord over his friend of five and three-quarters, apparently making him the instant victor of whatever little quarrel the two of them have got themselves into this time around.

Adults, on the other hand, often crave the simpler times they remember from when they were young.

‘Oh, to be that age again,’ you’ll here them say just after they’ve wished they still had a full head of hair, coloured by its own expired natural pigmentation.

‘You don’t want to be an adult,’ they might add, ‘it’s much easier being a child.’

Today marks the beginning of Children’s Grief Awareness Week and so this morning I contemplated what it would be like if my son and I could in fact trade places for a while.

It’s really quite easy for me to understand what he would experience as the tenant of my mind.

He would no doubt be saddened to find out that the smiles he sees on the selfies that we share in a world of idealised social media are sometimes forced and insincere.

He would be shocked to know that it is possible to read an entire children’s book out loud to him at night without taking in a single word, the whole time thinking, I wish someone else could do this tonight.

He would struggle to understand why his frequent reassurances that I am ‘the best daddy in the world’ still weren’t enough to make me feel confident in my own ability as a parent.

He would know that, far from adulthood being the ideal to strive towards, shifting from playing grown-up to having to actually become a man (or perhaps more specifically a single parent) has left me dealing with incredibly intense growing pains over the last four years.

Perhaps it’s easier being a kid after all, he might think. I’m still not completely convinced, though.

Sure, the emotions we feel and how…

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