Helping Children Cope with Sudden Death and Bereavement

Oladimeji, B. Y. (2000)

Book chapter

The certainty of death in human experience is one of the central concepts in almost all human philosophies. Sudden death is dreaded because there is usually no warning and possibility of its avoidance. In some cultures, it is a taboo subject with children, even when it has happened perhaps because of the desire to protect our children from anything unpleasant. Death is a serious threat to children. It undermines their idea that the world is a "safe place". The sudden death of a loved one is a terrible shock and gives no one the time to prepare the child. Adults are usually more preoccupied with their own loss and often forget to pay attention to the child's reaction. Invariably children are often confused with stories of the dead person "traveling to buy something for the child" or "gone to be with Jesus" and so on.