No one can tell how a child will grieve

Children and Loss
by Sue McDermott, Redemptorist Publications, 65pp, £4.95

This is an excellent booklet, scripted by an author who has more than 25 years’ experience with Rainbows Bereavement Support Group GB. Written with simplicity, sound sense and deep sensibility, it covers not only bereavement through the death of a loved one, but also other significant losses, such as becoming a refugee, suffering abuse or neglect, and separation or divorce.

There are sections that deal with “those who care” and “those who suffer” – remembering that in many cases this will be the same person. There are also careful explanations of the variety of ways in which children may grieve, depending on their age or background. The evident need for safeguarding protection is also addressed.

No one can tell another how she or he will grieve, and that grief may come not just after death, but also before, for example, in the case of a loved one dying of a terminal disease. Children and young people with intellectual disabilities are dealt with delicately, as is the importance of caring for the carer.

The whole feel of the booklet is just right. A variety of Christian prayers are added, as is a sample service of remembrance, which could be used profitably in a parish or church assembly. There is also a selection of further reading, with a wealth of practical suggestions.

All in all, Children and Loss is superb. It may help you with events that happened long ago when you were a child or young person, and were plunged into loss and grief. It certainly rang bells in my own mind and heart, as I lost my own Dad in an accident at work when I was 11. It is also a way of thanking all those individuals who give their time and love to the Rainbows groups in our schools.