The Grieving Child

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado   Sunday, September 23, 2007   7 Comments on The Grieving Child

siblingsThis photo was two months after Luijoe’s death. Here are my two daughters in their early teens about to release balloons on Luijoe’s 7th birth Anniversary. The sunny skies greeted us as we celebrated that day with balloons, his favorite gummy bear, flowers , candles and incense sticks. All of us signed something on the smiley balloon by Luijoe’s grave. As I look at this photo, I could not imagine my children’s grief until many years after. This was how Lauren expressed her grief 3 years after the death of her brother:

Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief. I chose to deal with my sadness through writing down what I felt in my journal. I suppose I could have talked to my friends about it, but I knew in my heart that they could not comprehend the magnitude of my sorrow and guilt unless they themselves have experienced death, which they haven’t.

During my bereavement, one thing that exasperated me was when people would tell me things like, ‘At least your brother is an angel in heaven now.’ Though I know they meant well by these attempts to comfort me, I did not want to picture Luijoe hovering in and out of the clouds with a pair of wings and a halo. I wanted him to be alive, to be as annoying as little brothers are; anywhere but inside a wooden casket buried six feet under a fine carpet of Bermuda grass.

Grief is a never-ending process. The beautiful thing about grieving is that even though you will never get over the death of your loved one, you will learn to move on and live without that person. Death like any great wound leaves a scar that will heal with time. But the mark will always remain, and so will the memories of your loved one.


I never really knew the depth of my children’s grief. In their case, it is sibling grief. They didn’t want to talk much about it. I just noticed that their grades improved tremendously soon after. They are impatient with triviality and shallowness of their peers. They are mature for their age. I knew they questioned life as “No one I know lost a sibling”.

I also recall a friend who advised my daughters to ““you be sure and take care of your parents”. I bet my daughters wondered “who was supposed to take care of me?”. I read somewhere that sibling grief is like ““Discount Grief.” Why? Because siblings appear to be an emotional bargain in most people’s eyes. People worry so much about the bereaved parents that they invest very little attention in the grieving sibling.

I realize that some people are unaware that they are discounting a child’s grief. But then, that’s why I’m blogging about this…so people will know.

Do you know a child (between the ages of 3 to 18) who is grieving? Are you interested in helping that child?

I am inviting you all to a special seminar on “Helping Children Grieve” tomorrow, Monday, September 24, 2007 at the Greenhills Christian Fellowship church on Ruby corner Garnet Roads in the Ortigas business district. Cathy Babao-Guballa and her husband, Hector will be facilitating a two-hour video/workshop on how to better understand a child’s grieving process. This will be very helpful to doctors, parents, educators or anyone working with children. The workshop starts at 6:30 PM.

There is no fee. Just call 0917-529-1964 to register or email [email protected]

Grieving is an individual wilderness experience that is not exclusive to adults. Shock, anger, denial, guilt and behavior changes are human responses. Children need adults to help them connect to their resources, maintain a positive attitude, and walk in faith believing that they will heal and get through it. Knowing that someone cares will help make their ““wilderness” journey easier to bear.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1346 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

The comments posted on my blog are moderated. I reserve the right to remove comments, words or phrases that are defamatory, abusive, incite hatred and advertise an email address or commercial services or just plain spammy. I also reserve the right to remove posts that to my opinion are off-topic, irrelevant, ad-hominem, personal attacks and or just plain rude.
  • http://nancydrewandme.blogspot.com Cathy

    Thank you for the plug Noems 🙂 Do help us pray that we are able to minister to many tomorrow. Mariel and my Pia’s grief are what propel us to reach out to others who may be walking the same road. God bless!

  • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

    @cathy- yes I hope. I emailed TCF and some professionals to attend. See you.

  • http://mysoulfulthoughts.blogspot.com/ Rach (Heart of Rachel)

    Hi Noemi. Lauren’s words really touched my heart. She’s right, someone who has not experienced the death of a sibling will not be able to fully comprehend the pain she went through. It’s good that she was able to find an outlet for her emotions which was writing.

    Hope the seminar will be able to reach out to many children dealing with grief.

  • http://dine.racoma.com.ph/ SexyMom

    a touching post–shows sibling love. oh yes, even if younger ones are annoying, they are loved just the same by the elder ones. sometimes they just do not show it.

  • http://kwentongwalangkwenta.blogspot.com auee

    “Discount Grief.”
    Sakit naman pakinggan. Grief is grief period.

    Lauren’s words ring true & pure. I’m glad your girls are made of sterner stuff.

  • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

    @rach- I feel sad nga . I felt I could have done more if I only knew the grief journey.

    @Sexy Mom- that’s how siblings are. They love them for bette or for worse

    @auee- I am not complacent either. I tell them various stages in their life that grief might hit them without their knowing it.

  • http://www.thesweetlife-rowena.blogspot.com Rowena

    Noemi, touching post. My only son (4yrs old) lose his first bestfriend in school last year right after the last day of exams (to a heart disease). We only knew about it on Recognition Day where the child got the first honor award and received by the mother. From then on, my son would always say he missed his bestfriend and he doesn’t want a new bestfriend again. I don’t know if my boy who is as young as 4 can or is still grieving over the loss. I am also affected because I was also fond of my kid’s classmate-bestfriend. To lighten our sorrow, we just pray for the boy’s soul and occasionally look at his pictures. This is really a sad experience for my kid.