Mary M. Wrye

Good morning all. Thanks Joy for starting our conversation. I, too, read the A Lipstick, a Ribbon and a Gray Clay” article. I have dealt with both sides of things. Adults who want to shield their children from everything. Had a situation where a single mother died leaving an adult son and a 17 year old emotionally delayed daughter and a 9 year old daughter. The family had very little resources so the mother was to be cremated. The adult son told his sisters that he didn’t want them seeing their mother. After talking to him about their need to tell their mother goodbye since there would be no other time to do that with her physical body – he understood and handled it beautifully. And then there are the adults who carry young children in to the ED so they can “kiss their grandma goodbye”. Children need a place to put all their emotions and if we don’t give it to them in a constructive way – they will find a place that may not be so healthy or constructive.

I had not thought about grief in graduations. We adults tend to be so excited about “starting kindergarten” or “being a high schooler” or getting into a college or even graduating and getting a job – that there is grief in leaving things behind. It seems that the older I get the more I like predictability – so I’m sure that children too deal better with stability and being able to find those “steady in the boat” people/places. That’s what we do with rituals. It gives kids a place to put their fear, doubt, anxiety and know there are adults who will be there with them through it.

Like Joy, I was rather confused by the tree illustrations. They are rather dated. I am curious about kids who live in the city where tall buildings are more prominent and trees are those things we have to scout out rather than just look up and see. Would the analysis be the same? Would they even show up in a drawing? I live in the Midwest surrounded by nature (thank you God) but just curious about that.

My experience in dealing with children in grief is really limited. I know a woman who works for our Hospice agency that deals solely with children in grief and is quite gifted. I rely heavily on her talents. I guess I’m spoiled that way.’

Thanks for walking with me on this journey of discovery.