If you are experiencing grief and loss, please consider talking with a BYS counselor. You can make an appointment here.
Other local counseling services you may find helpful.
Helpline House, 206.842.7621, https://www.helplinehouse.org/
Bainbridge Psychotherapy Guild,[email protected], https://bainbridgepsychotherapy.org/
Kitsap Mental Health Services: https://www.kitsapmentalhealth.org/
This is a Raising Resilience video of an interview with grief counselor, Nani Baran, MA, LMHC to help parents process and support their teens through grief. https://vimeo.com/525864265
Grief and Loss Resources, Compiled by Sara Hughes-Zabawa, LCSW
Grief Education & Support Websites:
- The National Center for Grieving Children and Families: The Dougy Center: https://www.dougy.org
- The Coalition to Support Grieving Students: https://grievingstudents.org
- What’s Your Grief?: https://whatsyourgrief.com
- Bereaved Parenting: https://www.bereavedparentsusa.org
- National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement: https://www.schoolcrisiscenter.org
- Mindfulness & Grief Institute: https://mindfulnessandgrief.com
Online Adult Facebook Support Group lead by Grief Expert, David Kessler:
Search in Facebook: “Grief: Releasing Pain, Remembering Love & Finding Meaning”
Resources on Supporting Friends Who Have Lost a Child:
- Book & Audiobook: What Do I Do? A Step by Step Guide for Friends and Family to Support Anyone Who Has Lost a Child by Kimberly Calabrese
- Overview of book: https://www.supportofalovedone.com/about/#about-author
- 21 Ways to Help Someone You Love Through Grief: https://time.com/5118994/advice-for-helping-grieving-friend/
- How to Help a Grieving Friend: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/grief/related/how-to-help-a-grieving-friend/
- 10 Best & 10 Worst Things to Say: https://grief.com/10-best-worst-things-to-say-to-someone-in-grief/
- 13 Things NOT to Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Child: https://medium.com/@DLand/13-things-not-to-say-to-someone-whose-child-has-died-8726a993c43b
Note: We all make mistakes in what we say to those we love when they are hurting, be gentle with yourself – when we know better we can do better. Also, honor that you are the expert on your relationship with loved ones who are suffering. Make sure you allow others to make the meaning they want from loss – not imposing your meaning for the loss on them.
Grief Books for Adults:
- Finding the Words (How to Talk with Children and Teens About Death, Suicide, Homicide, Funerals, Cremation, and Other End-of-Life Matters) by Alan Wolfelt
- Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler
- It’s OK That You’re Not OK (Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand) by Megan Devine
- The Unspeakable Loss: How Do You Live After a Child Dies? by Nisha Zenoff
- Getting Grief Right: Finding Your Story of Love in the Sorrow of Loss by Patrick O’Malley Ph.D.
- Transforming Grief & Loss Workbook by Ligia M. Houben
- The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller
- Healing a Parent’s Grieving Heart:100 Practical Ideas After Your Child Dies (Healing a Grieving Heart series) by Alan Wolfelt
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- Brené Brown’s Unlocking us with David Kessler (grief researcher and Father who traumatically lost his son): https://brenebrown.com/podcast/david-kessler-and-brene-on-grief-and-finding-meaning/?fbclid=IwAR0Ih9nvY3GupuAcaFtQ9J4xKpU2eyPds-gHYy24BZzI1DGIDxcVOvvORGo
- What’s Your Grief? Podcast: https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-podcast/
- Terrible, Thanks for Asking: https://www.ttfa.org
- The Mindfulness & Grief Institute Podcast: https://mindfulnessandgrief.com/grief-podcast/
Resources for Supporting your Teen with Traumatic Loss:
- General Overview: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/trauma-and-teenagers-tips-for-parents
- Helping a Teenager Deal with Grief: https://whatsyourgrief.com/helping-a-teenager-deal-with-grief-2/
- Teen Grief 101: https://eterneva.com/resources/teenager-grief
- National Grief Camp for Teens/Kids- Comfort Zone Camp: https://comfortzonecamp.org/?fbclid=IwAR042tOgSWS4zy0E28_FgfnGBIrUBkOs7S2RluDfd8Onp93Po8c-ElrwDYs
- Grief Handbook for Teens: https://www.hospicesantacruz.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Teen-Grief-Handbook-web-version.pdf
Teenage Grief Books:
- Healing A Teen’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends and Caregivers by Alan Wolfelt
- Grief Recovery for Teens: Letting Go of Painful Emotions with Body-Based Practices by Coral Popowitz MSW, LGSW
- Grieving for the Sibling You Lost: A Teen’s Guide to Coping with Grief and Finding Meaning After Loss by Erica Goldblatt Hyatt DSW
- When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens About Grieving & Healing by Marilyn E. Gootman Ed.D.
- The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali-Benjamin (Ages 12+, fictional novel)
Children’s Books on Grief
- The Invisible String, by Patrice Karst
Description: A touching story about two siblings who learn that everyone has an invisible string connecting them to everyone they love — anywhere, anytime — through separation, anger, and even death.
Age level: 5+, Themes: Love is what connects us with those we have lost
- A Kids Book About Death, by Taryn Schuelke, CT, CCLS, (Grief and Bereavement Specialist)
Description: This book dives right into the weighty topic that most adults prefer to avoid thinking or talking about: death. It explains the practical aspects and gracefully navigates the nuances of emotion and community surrounding something we all experience.
Age level: 5+, Theme: Normalizing grief, death & dying
- A Land Called Grief, by Maddie Janes
Description: A story that helps little and big kids alike understand the emotions that show up when we navigate through the stages of grief. Although grief can be heavy, this book helps us understand that our grief can be turned into something beautiful. A beauty that can heal. A beauty that can be shared.
Theme: Grief, healing from grief
- The Memory Box: A Book About Grief, by Joanna Rowland
Description: From the perspective of a young child, the author describes what it is like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one, to help in the grieving process. This book allows the reader to imagine the loss of any they have loved – a friend, family member, or even a pet. The parent guide is included in the back.
- Where’s Jess? By Johnson and Marvin Johnson
Age level: 3-6, Theme: Sibling Loss
- My Yellow Balloon By Tiffany Papageorge
Description: The author has crafted a poignant tale of love, loss, and letting go that will serve as a comforting guide to children who are navigating the complicated emotions of grief. Honest, courageous, and ultimately reassuring, My Yellow Balloon will resonate with anyone who has endured the darkness of grief while offering hope for brighter days ahead.
Age Level: 6+, Theme: Grief, complex emotions, letting go
- The Rabbit Listened By Cori Doerrfeld
Description: A moving and universal picture book about empathy and kindness, sure to soothe heartaches big and small. The Rabbit Listened is about how to comfort and heal the people in your life, by taking the time to carefully, lovingly, gently listen.
Age Level: 4+, Themes: Comfort, kindness, sitting with others
- The Death of Cupcake: A Child’s Experience with Loss By Susan Nicholas MD
Description: This exposes the intersection of grief and consciousness from a child’s perspective. It opens a conscious dialogue about life and loss, reminding parents and children of their infinite nature. It allows children to view death as a liberation, easing the fears and sorrow surrounding a personal loss. Through the lens of consciousness lies the realization that many children are not given the space to make closure when a loved one transition because physical death is not easily discussed. Furthermore, many children are excluded from funeral or burial proceedings. Thereby, the unresolved feelings and emotions surrounding the death of a close family member, friend, or beloved pet are often carried over into adulthood.
Themes: Death, grief, understanding cultural aspects of death like funerals
- I Miss You: A First Look at Death By Pat Thomas (psychotherapist & counselor)
Description: When a close friend or family member dies, it can be difficult for children to express their feelings. I Miss You helps boys and girls understand that death is a natural complement to life, and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following a loved one’s death. Kids are encouraged to understand personal feelings and social problems as a first step in dealing with them. The storylines are simple and direct–easily accessible to younger children.
Age level: 2+, Themes: Loss, love, death, missing loved ones
- Why Do I Feel So Sad: A Grief Book for Children by Tracy Lambert, LPC
Description: This book reassures kids that they are not alone in their feelings and even suggests simple things they can do to feel better, like drawing, dancing, and talking to friends and family. Touches on common sources of grief―everything from death to divorce or changing schools. This book normalizes the confusing thoughts and physical symptoms that come with grief, so kids know there’s no one right way to feel or heal. Find expert advice and simple strategies for supporting grieving kids in your life.
Age Level: 5-7+, Themes: Normalizing feeling sad during loss, explores various forms of loss
- The Fox and the Feather: A Children’s Book for the Grieving Heart by Kendall Lanning,
Description: Grief can be a difficult topic to address. This book has a beautiful way of giving hope to the grieving heart, while strengthening spiritual and emotional intelligence for both children and adults. After losing a loved one it can be comforting to know they are still connected to us, one of those ways is through signs. The Fox and Cardinal are best friends. One day the Cardinal explains that he, “is sick and dying.” Although the Fox is sad and crying, the Cardinal reminds him to look for signs. One of those signs is a feather to assure they will always be together. The Fox comforts the Cardinal with his favorite scarf and says, “goodnight.” At sunrise, the Fox waves good-bye to his best friend. The Fox would then find feathers as a reminder that the Cardinal is flying above him, although he cannot see him.
Provided in the book are caregiver resources, such as developmental stages of grief and directs you to the website that has activities that accompany the story. The scarf activity is great for memory making and “letting go.” There are also free puppet printouts to facilitate and utilize play to aid in coping.
Age Level: 4+
Ebook link: https://www.newyorklife.com/assets/foundation/docs/pdfs/TheFishlessLake_Ebook.pdf
Description: A modern-day fable, told in a richly illustrated children’s book format. Tear Soup, a recipe for healing after loss, centers around an old and somewhat wise woman, Grandy. Grandy has just suffered a big loss in her life and so she is headed to the kitchen to make a special batch of Tear Soup. There she chooses the size pot that is right for her loss, and she puts on her apron because she knows it’s going to be messy. Slowly the pot is filled with tears as the old woman steeps away. To season her soup Grandy adds memories like the good times and the bad times, the silly and the sad times. She does not want to forget even one precious memory of her loss.
Age Level: 5+, Themes: Loss, sorrow, grief
Disclaimer: This resource list is not exhaustive, it’s a starting place for resources and support. As with any resource suggested for minors, please use your judgment as parents to decide if it’s the right choice for your family.