In normal times, when someone is very unwell, we would encourage parents to allow children take part in opportunities to say goodbye to loved ones in any way they feel comfortable. Children and young people are usually very involved in a family member’s final days, in our end-of-life goodbyes and funeral traditions.
It helps them understand the finality of death and it shows them how to give and receive compassion. Children often like to feel they have contributed to the care of the person and can often take a lot of comfort in the future for little acts of kindness they were part of for their sick relative.
During these exceptional times, however, it may not be possible to take part in our normal end-of-life and funeral practices. Infection controls may mean family members do not have an opportunity to spend time with someone who is dying, to say goodbye or attend funerals.
The Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN) in partnership with The Irish Hospice Foundation have developed some specific resources in their COVID-19 Care & Inform series to help you support a grieving young person in these exceptional times.