Helping Your Tween With Grief

by Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress

My youngest son, Zane, was nearly 9 when his dad, Tom, lost his battle with cancer. I held Zane as his tears flowed and he whispered, "I’m afraid I’ll forget."

"It will not always hurt this bad," I assured him, "but we will never forget your dad."

Grief is painful, but remembering together can be comforting. I helped Zane remember his dad by encouraging him to keep a journal where he wrote letters to his dad. On Father’s Day, Zane tied a card to a balloon, and we visited the cemetery to release it. We looked at family photos and spoke often of Tom’s love for his four sons. Because Tom was Zane’s baseball coach, we gave an annual player scholarship in his memory.

Zane is now a 20-year-old — and we still remember.


This article appeared in the October/November 2012 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Lettie Kirkpatrick Burress. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.

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