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How do we help our children cope with losing their beloved nana?(4 Posts)
hi..not sure if anyone can help advise on helping our young children? My mother in law passed away in the hospice at the end of November this year after suffering with lung cancer for 3 years. Previous to that she had throat cancer and a larengyetomy so the last five years have been constant care, doctor/hospital visits, particularly the last three years after my father in law died of cancer which resulted in increased dependency of care from mil on us.
Our children have witnessed in the last few months uncertainty, daily visits to hospice, and the loss of their nana who they were very close to.
The last few weeks of mil life my son who has just turned 5 today, has become increasingly clingy, will not stay in a room on his own be it day or night, suffered occasional nightmares and has regressed to coming to our bed every night when previously had been a good sleeper. He becomes hysterical and tearful when we put him back in his room. We've tried to ask about his nightmares, reassure him there is nothing to be scared of in his bedroom or house, talk about his nana but nothing seems to help.
He mentions nearly daily that he misses nana.
We know he is grieving but how can we help him be less scared of everything? Should we seek counselling?
We also have a 3 yr old daughter who is also now becoming clingy and frightened of bedroom, dark and not sure if the behaviour of ds is affecting dd.
Can anyone help please Am worried about our babies so much
Thanks in advance
First of all, can I say sorry to you all for your loss.I want to try and reassure you and tell you that this is normal, and it will pass in time. There is a great charity called Winstons Wish, they have lots of useful knowledge and ideas and are experts in dealing with children's grief. www.winstonswish.org.uk/. Take a look at their website, there is a section specifically for parents and carers which will guide you through and give you advice on what to do. They also have a low cost helpline, if you would find it easier to talk to someone in person. They offer lots of practical advice and support such as making memory boxes or books with your children, writing a letter to their Nana to let her know how they feel and how much they love and miss her, and then attaching the letter to a balloon and letting it go. (You can retrieve the letters afterwards, because they will be personal), it's what it signifies that is important. Winstons wish also have a great range of books and leaflets which will help you to begin to talk about this difficult subject with your children.
You mentioned that your mother in law was in a hospice, I am not sure where you live, but in our local hospice they have a brilliant family care team, who can offer emotional support via counselling and groups so it is worth getting in touch with them and seeing what they are able to suggest.
Cruse bereavement care is also another good place for you to get advice and support and again, you can use their website which is www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk/ or go and see them in person if there is one near to you.
Finally it may be worth contacting your GP and asking for a referral to your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (not as scary as it sounds) www.camhscares.nhs.uk/. They have a lot of knowledge and expertise of working with children who are grieving and often run local groups, but referral can take a while.
Good luck, Hope this helps.
Thanks for the great advice, I will look at the websites you've mentioned and go from there so hard to know what to do for the best and how to avoid making their fears worse!
No problem let me know how you get on. Gemma