OSWEGO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Losing a parent or a partner is among one of the hardest things anyone has to face.
But loss is so much harder and sadder for a child.
Korie Leigh, PhD, CCLS, CT is an Associate Professor, Certified Child Life Specialist, and Grief Counselor, and has been helping children and families deal with grief for almost 20 years.
“The latest statistics are that one out of every twelve children will experience the death of a parent or a sibling before the age of 18. So those statistics don’t include the death of classmates and other family members, community members,” said Dr. Leigh.
The Oswego native has now written a book for children and families called What Does Grief Feel Like. It provides us grown-ups with direction for those times when words just fail us.
“There are questions embedded throughout the pages for the adult that’s reading it with the child so that they don’t have to find the words themselves, the words are already there for them. Image how we would be able to understand our emotional experience so much better and more deeply if we had an adult in our life listen to us,” said Dr. Leigh.
Dr. Leigh says it’s really important to talk directly to kids, especially young kids between the ages of three and eight. And avoid terms like, “He’s gone to heaven,” and “grandmas past away.”
“Instead of ‘grandmas past away’ we say that ‘grandma died, her body stopped working.’ We use the ‘D-Word’ as much as it might be scary for us, it’s so important to be honest. We want so badly to say that there are stages of grief, or that there’s a time limit to grief, and science and literature has helped us understand that, it isn’t linear. We learn how to live with our losses,” continues Dr. Leigh.
And she hopes her new book will help us all do just that.
It’s called, What Does Grief Feel Like.