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I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but please bear with me if not.


There's been a tragic situation in our preschool this week where the father of one of the children first suffered some critical kind of brain illness, was on life support & then died on Monday. I won't go into too much detail. Our little one, who's under 3, seems relatively unaffected. Parents were separated & there's a good father figure on the scene who clealry loves them all to bits & it's reciprocated.


I've listened to Mum, just letting her talk, & she seems to think I can help by finding some material for her to read either about how her children [the oldest is 9, showing no emotions] might best be helped, or material for them to read themselves.


I've looked at the previous discussion on here, which is very helpful. The Child Bereavement Trust looks a very good resource. I'm just feeling that they won't have the time, energy & whatever else to look it up themselves at the minute. I wonder if anyone knows of anything I can download to give to her ready printed when the child is collected this afternoon? We finish for half term today, but from what she said today there may not be any form of closure for them for some time - possibly months.


Any ideas? I know she'd really appreciate it.

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What a sad situation for all concerned :o


I have just looked at the Child bereavement trust resources section and they have a variety of downloadable leaflets.

I have had a quick look at one called 'Understanding bereaved children and young people' and it seems useful and sensitively written - it's only 6 pages so maybe a possibility for you to print off if you think it suitable?


There is also one called 'When a parent dies' but it is seemingly more legal stuff about who cares for the children etc



Sorry probably not alot of help xD

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Sorry to hear such sad news. I did a google search and found this site

Winstons wish.


Winstons wish


I downloaded a parent guidance article but I haven't read it through.



My son lost his Dad at age 12 yrs. ( strange statement "lost" but it's the one we seem to use). He did feel a sense of loss and became a bit lost in his own identity.


I collated all the photo's I had of his dad into an album, and all the bereavement cards and messages into another album. He found these very useful to help him cope.

As a young child he wanted to "live life as normal" but found it difficult to justify this need to himself because life for the moment was not normal, he was facing new emotions never felt before. This results in confusion. How should I feel? How should I behave? and these questions were different depending on who he was with.

He would say that he felt he should cry, but couldn't, did this mean he didn't care? He found that playing football was different now because dad was not there playing with him. He also worried about me and his friends who liked his dad a lot and were also bereaved.

I reassured him as best I could that whatever he felt, thought, or didn't feel was OK and normal.


I placed the albums in a cupboard, he could get them out whenever he wanted to, he could choose to look at them on his own, or look at them with me, or with his friends. He told me later that when he wanted to cry and couldn't, but by looking at the albums on his own it helped him to cry, but not in a depressing way, he felt to cry enabled a physical release / relief from the hurt.


Just this week I was sorting out my sons things ( he left home a few years ago, but had shoe boxes of stuff) In one was a poem he wrote 2 years after his dads death, it was very intense ( as things are when we are teenagers) The message to himself in his poem was that his Dads death was not his fault, ( he must of felt it was at some time during bereavement)he could do nothing to change it, to remember him with pride and move on, to be true to himself. Reading it made me cry with pride for him, and when I see him Saturday, I shall tell him again how proud I am of him.


Everyone is different and circumstances are different. My thoughts are with you, the bereaved family and anyone else who is bereaved at this time.




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Thank you both for that, and especially to you, Peggy, for sharing that very personal experience.


I've printed off some items and I'll give them to Grandad when he comes to collect the child. I'm sure that when the time is right for them they'll find them very useful.


Unfortunately I think I shall also need to use them again, as a colleague has a close family member desperately ill and there's a young child involved. Sad times.

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Muddles, Puddles and Sunshine: Activity Book to Help When Someone Has Died

Winston's Wish, Kate Sheppard

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

~Janis Silverman


My husband died when my son was in reception class and I was pregnant with my daughter. It appeared he wasnt affected by the death until I went to his first parents night where his teacher complained he kept crying (for sympathy) when there was no reason :o

I found it was important to him that we talked about his daddy and looked at pictures and I gave him lots of reasurance that it wasnt his fault and that I wouldnt leave him. For a long time he too was a lost and angry little boy only advice I can give is lots of love and understanding :)

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We had a little girl who lost her mum whilst she was with us. It was a very traumatic time for everyone involved, her Dad, older brother, and Grandparents (and many friends). It was the first time I have ever experienced it (hopefully the last), but I was amazed at how she coped. I think three and four year olds help others around them rather us helping them! She would be heard telling the other children "Did you know my mummy died, she's up in the sky now" absolutely heart breaking, but it's something that you can't prepare yourself for and things do seem to come naturally.

I am an emotional person and find it hard to keep myself together when something like this happens, but it was strange how strong you become when the need is there. Obviously we wanted to be there for her and the family and everyone supported each other. Just keep the routine the same and things will hopefully work for you.


I'm sure all the information leaflets will help you.

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  • 1 month later...

this month has been one I never want to repeat.....


last night about 10pm a dad rang me (we have a mobile for emergency contact should a parent need it) to tell me that the reason his daughter had not been at pre-school last week was because her younger sister had died....he felt we should all know before bringing the child in today with her mum.

did not sleep much last night ... we have known the family for years older children came to us (now in Yr6 and Yr2) and all regularly come in to visit and give us a hug.


They have had a little time to compose themselves now and informed us this morning it had been a form of bacterial meningitis...mum felt she could not have done any more than she did for her daughter but is wary about other parents reactions to her turning up without the pushchair. Today was Ok, came and went by a side door and dad collected as they had been to the funeral parlour while the child was with us. we will take a day at a time and offer the support as they are friends as well as parents of a child in our care.


this only served to open wounds for another parent who lost his Father two weeks ago suddenly.....and who also knows the family....they were just beginning to move on after the funeral.....



Thanks for the information leaflets have printed them for both families and will pass them on .....having spoken to both families today they have asked for the info.....also found a web site for young people who have been bereaved road 4 u .



to add to it all the mother of a member of staff had surgery last week, went home appearing well and recovering....but went into a coma on saturday and returned to hospital.....still in a coma and not responding.......



We are all taking a day at a time.....and have found my nursing training and working on childrens wards invaluable in being able to speak to parents, children, staff, and not get emotional but be supportive , compassionate and practical at the same time.


sorry for the length but now I have had a chance to say it all out loud to people not directly involved I will sleep better tonight...


thanks for listening



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Children do handle these sad times in such a matter of fact way. I have had two bereavements within the last two weeks at preschool ( a nan and a grandad, seperate families)


Today both affected children made comments;


The first was talking on the play phone " yeh, how are you, I'm ok, my dad died, yeh, bye" (it was her grandad, she was role modeling her perception of her mums conversation)


The second child was laying down on the carpet, I said " are you alright ....." she replied, "yes, I'm dead", I said "Where are you being dead?" ( knowing mum informed us that the child had been told nan was in heaven) " I'm being dead here" she said. I replied " Oh, ok, not in heaven?" "No" she said, " Nan's in heaven, they haven't got room for me yet"


As Kimberley says, children do somehow help us all cope.


My thoughts are with all of you who are supporting families at these sad and difficult times, yet they are times when we admire and draw from the strength of others and find strength in ourselves.



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last year we lost two parents (seperate families) and I found it difficult to be of any use what so ever!


then a few weeks later lost my own grandad and found that it was easier to deal with my own childrens grief I was able to console my children because I could talk about "grandads gone to heaven" we talked about all the things grandad would be doing in heaven.


It made me realise why I had found it difficult supporting the the children within the setting.... I didnt know what or how death had been explained to the children and being too emotional I couldnt ask the parent who brought the child how they had explained things to the child. I didnt want to assume that the children had been told "mummy is in heaven" so I found myself avoiding mentioning the word mum at all for fear of difficult questions and I know thats not the best way to help the child ....


Inge, my heart goes out to you and the parents in your group and dont apologise for the length of your message if it has helped you by sharing then carry on.

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Oh Inge! I don't know what to say; your post recreates the whole scenario so vividly.


I think all the messages show how deeply we get involved in other peoples' lives in this kind of work. It does seem that there's been a bit of an imbalance recently, though, with sad events outweighing the happy. I also think it shows how important something like this Forum can be, as a support mechanism, because there seems very little support 'out there' for the preschool sector in these situations.

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Thanks for you support and input.....we have been close to the families involved for a long time now and both told us how they had approached it with thier children so we can do the same ....... not all families could have done that, we have been pleased that they feel comfortable enough with us to discuss it ....

(Staff members mother died also ....... leaflets helpful there too for her )


This year has been one thing after another ....i can only hope it takes a turn for the better......



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Big hugs for all of you. I think you are obviously dealing with this in the most sensitive way possible. The families will really appreciate this and the trust you have built up with them will now pay dividends. Will be thinking of you this coming week.

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