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Grief Question Jar – Family Activity
Grief can bring up a lot of questions. Sometimes we have answers to them and other times we may struggle to find an answer. It can be helpful to share these questions with our family to process more of our experience. If we keep them inside, our thoughts may never be heard and our questions may go unanswered.
Identify a space in the home to place a jar or container, writing tools, and strips of paper. It might be helpful to assign different colored strips to each family member to identify who has questions. Encourage family members to write questions they have about their own grief, other people’s grief, the person who died, their death, worries about the future, how to cope, etc. You can choose whether to talk about questions from the jar as a whole family or individually– at designated times or spontaneously. Whatever feels most supportive.
sending signals – Youth activity ages 12 – 18
Between school, activities, time with friends, life can feel too busy to find a moment to talk with your family about grief. What makes it even more awkward is not knowing how to start the conversation.
Create a “guide” that adults and other family members can refer to that signals what you need. Here are some different ways you could create a guide that signals when you want to talk, need space, are feeling crummy and would like someone to check in on you, etc.:
- Assign different emojis with different needs (ex. sad face = I need to talk)
- Create specific door hangings or signs to place on your door or door handle
- Identify “code words” that connect to different ways your needs can be met (ex. caterpillar = I want to talk)
- Select different bracelets that correspond to your needs. Only put them on when you need to open a particular communication.
RETURN TO SENDER – Youth Activity ages 3 – 11
Talking about grief can be hard. Sometimes you can feel worried or nervous that your question will bother someone, or you may even feel silly for asking it. No one can guess what’s going on inside of your brain and how you are feeling. It is important to tell helpful people in your life how you feel, what you are thinking, and what you might need.
Use our fill-in-the-blank postcard templates or create your own. Be sure to send or give your postcards to these helpful people.
Adapted from Lowenstein, L. (2006). Creative interventions for bereaved children. Toronto: Champion Press.
“Ruby Finds a Worry” by Tom Percival