I lost my dad and two brothers in an accident when I was 8 and my little brother was 7. My mother had a deep faith in God which was so vital. She was open about her grief, which helped, but I internalized a lot and wasn't able to really face it until I was 14. Like outstandinglove said, you be there, you answer questions, but you understand that there will be lingering effects for the rest of that child's life. The grief will have to be experienced at every new level, and you be there as much as you can. You can't fix it like a band-aid on a knee. The child will HAVE to hurt and cry. Whatever you do, don't try to stop her/him from grieving. Encourage the grief. Don't ever let the child feel like there's any reason to run or hide from it. People don't just "deal with it" like you get over a spider bite. It hurts for a long time and the throb comes back. Even if you feel like you're not fixing the pain, just being there matters.
at 3:24 PM on Apr. 25, 2010