BU’s multi-faith Chaplain, Dr Bill Merrington led this poignant event, which was attended by social workers, church representatives, members of care or support teams, as well as some sadly recently bereaved.
Bill opened the event with the story of a boy in a school football match, who notices his dad isn’t in the stands. We learn that his mother has died in a car accident.
The use of and importance of stories was a prominent theme at this event. Bill showed videos of children telling their stories of grief and, importantly, acknowledged how fictional stories can help a child through a loss experience. This is because stories are metaphors through which people can explore emotions in a safe but relateable environment.
The worrying statistic that 92% of children involved in a police incident had experienced a significant loss, demonstrates how loss can impact on children’s behaviour and well-bring in complex ways. This emphasises the importance of dealing with the loss in the best possible way.
Bill talked through some of the other work he does with children who have experienced loss including:
- Focusing on their identity, through a birth certificate exercise
- Helping them to reach acceptance, by reflecting on their life journey, including the highs and lows
- Avoiding analogies for death, such a ‘gone to sleep’ or ‘gone on a journey’, as these can lead to fear of the literal activity.
The ultimate aim of the session was to provide tips and pointers on how to help children back to a point of security following a loss; to a point of acceptance and the ability to move on.