As the colorful leaves fall gently to the ground, we are reminded that change is a natural part of life. But what happens when that change is the loss of someone we love? Children, just like adults, experience grief, but they often face unique challenges in understanding and processing their emotions.

Children’s Grief Awareness Day on November 16 provides an opportunity to shed light on this often-overlooked aspect of a child’s life. It’s a day when we come together as a community to support our children and teens as they navigate the complex path of grief.

Grief can be a confusing and overwhelming experience for kids. They may not have the words to express their feelings or fully understand what is happening. Teens often isolate themselves at a time when support could be helpful. This is why it’s important for us as a community to be there for them, to listen, and to provide a safe space for them to grieve.

One way we can do this is by participating in the Children’s Grief Awareness Day event at the Heirlooms for Hospice store in downtown Montrose. On November 16, from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M., HopeWest Kids staff will set up “Chat Bubbles” where members of the community can write thoughtful messages to children who are grieving. These messages will be posted in the windows of the store and serve as a reminder that they are not alone, that their feelings are valid, and that there are people who care about them.

It’s important to remember that grief doesn’t have a timeline. Some children and teens might show their emotions openly, while others may be more reserved. Some may experience intense feelings immediately, while others might take longer to process. By participating in Children’s Grief Awareness Day, we send a powerful message to children and teens: Your feelings matter, and we are here to support you.

Providing age-appropriate information about death and grief can be extremely helpful. Kids’ understanding of these concepts evolves as they grow, and it’s our responsibility to offer them honest, clear, and sensitive explanations. By doing so, we empower them to ask questions, express themselves, and seek comfort when they need it.

In addition to open communication, we can encourage creative outlets for grieving children and teens. Art, music, creative expression, and time with friends can be powerful tools for processing emotions that may be too complex for words. These activities provide a way for children and teens to express themselves and find comfort.

By fostering a community of empathy and compassion, children are given the support needed to cope in a healthy way. Grief can feel isolating but knowing that there are people who care can make a world of difference. Children and teens can also find support in school grief groups or individual grief counseling. For more information on these services, visit our HopeWest Kids page.

So, on November 16, let’s come together as a community. Let’s write messages of hope, love, and understanding in the “Chat Bubbles” at Heirlooms for Hospice and let a child or teen experiencing grief know that they are not alone in their journey. Together, we can create a space for them to grieve, heal, and grow. In doing so, we not only honor the memories of those they have lost, but also give them the tools to navigate the path ahead with strength and resilience.

by Teri Kinkade, Med, Bereavement Counselor/Youth Services Coordinator at HopeWest Montrose

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