How to Help Your Child, At Any Age, Comfort Someone?

Yesterday I picked some Queen Anne’s Laces alongside the road for a friend whose dying mother believes her bed sheets are made of lace. “They are so soft, so beautiful,” she told my friend who in turn told me this story. As common, noxious and pesky as these wild flowers may be, they are as exquisitely beautiful as lace — and the gift, my friend said, “They will forever, forever be my mom’s flower.”

When someone is dying or has passed away, it seems to me it’s hard to know what to say or do. It’s even harder to show our children what to do. Some of us avoid saying anything. Or we stumble on the wrong phases, “Hey, it was his time. Move on.” It doesn’t take much to help your children learn to comfort a friend or a family member. Here are seven suggestions to consider:

1. Say I am sorry;
2. Give a hug;
3. Share why you liked the person who passed away;
4. Ask how was their last few moments with this person;
5. Recall a memory of that person;
6. Offer to help; and/or
7. Give something. Encourage your child to cook a meal or make a card. Listen carefully. You might find an opportunity to give something that holds meaning.