On the death of a child
No parent should ever have to deal with grief, says Marlon Abrahams.
The little girl in the photo (which was taken on her first day of Grade 1 with Maddi earlier this year) died in a hideous freak accident this weekend. The details of the accident does not bear repeating; suffice it to say that it was a tragedy of the highest order.
Tips for grief-management
We were notified via an email from the school, which included a list of tips on how to break the news to our kids and what to expect in terms of their reactions. Maddi told me matter-of-factly what happened. So much so that I thought she was joking. Once I established that she was serious, I was in a complete state of shock that this beautiful angel had been taken away so needlessly, I reacted by asking Maddi, “So why are you so calm about it?" She just replied that she was not calm and was in fact sad; this despite a sheepish smile on her face.
How children process grief
I am bracing myself for her reaction. Strange as it may seem, when she was in kindergarten one of her little friends went in for a routine operation at the hospital and never came back out. Maddi’s reaction to that was a series of nightmares. I’m not sure what to expect this time.
Yes, it happens every day: We are bombarded with horrific tales on the news of kids being killed needlessly and violently. But we adapt and become immune to the news, casually consuming it as just another death, happening to someone else’s family.
Well, this one hit close to home and I am able to empathize with the family to the extent that the thought of what they must be going through fills me with a deep sense of despair, sadness and even anger. I mean, how in the name of all things holy do you process something like this? My thoughts are with the family.
Just the other day that little girl ran up to me in the schoolyard while I dropped Maddi and greeted me warmly, eyes shining with exuberant vitality. I write this column as a tribute to her and all the children who are under our care. Cherish and love your little ones and your family. Make their time on earth as joyous as you can. Celebrate their innocence and beauty. Nurture their beauty and magical qualities, for you never know when the angels will come for them.
With deep sadness and immense regret, rest in peace dear Tamzyn.
Read more by Marlon Abrahams.
What tips do you have for parents who need to help their kids grieve?