I just finished watching "When Families Grieve," a special where Katie Couric and the Sesame Street Muppets talk about coping with the death of a parent. I love how PBS talks about sensitive subjects that we all experience. I don't know anyone who hasn't lost someone they love. I've experienced the death of several loved ones: my fiance, my grandfather, several classmates, and just recently, one of my neighbors. My neighbor left behind three kids, ages 14, four and 18-months. I can't imagine how hard it was for their dad to tell them that mommy wasn't coming home. How do you talk to children about death? How do you help them remember mommy?
"When Families Grieve" doesn't tell you HOW to grieve, but rather ways you CAN grieve. One of the ways mentioned was a memory box. When muppet Jessie's dad died, Jessie made a box to place all the things that reminded her of her dad. When she was missing him really bad, she opened the box and looked at the mementos. What are some ways that helped you cope with death?
While there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution on how to express grief, we need to find some way that allows us to move forward, whether it's a memory box, seeking professional help, or simply talking about it. Going forward with life doesn't mean forgetting the person who died, but rather finding a way to keep their memory alive.
"When Families Grieve" airs Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. on AETN. Outreach kits will be available at www.sesameworkshop.org/grief on April 15.