Dear Savvy Auntie,

I'm an ABC and godmother to my best friends' three kids ages 4, 2, and 5 months.

About a month ago, my friend suffered a devastating loss that took her significant other and the kids' father. My 4 yr old niece is having a hard time coping with the loss of her dad. She comes from a semi-religious Christian family, so she kind of understands where Daddy is now, and that he can't come home, but he'll always be a part of her.

I don't know how to help her, though. She's either so quite or so angry. It breaks my heart to see the light missing from inside her. Is there anything I can do to help?

Loving Godmother

Dear Loving Godmother,

What a tragic situation! It might take quite some time for light in her eyes to return, be patient.

In the meantime, be with her and give her the opportunity to talk. I suggest that you ask her if she would like to make painting or pictures and then tell you about her pictures. Write them down and offer to make a book of them. Try not to tuck her thoughts away (heaven is so abstract, particularly for a young child.).

I also suggest you plant a small tree with her for her Daddy. She can find little stones to put at the base and give her the job of watering it. This is an international method of mourning and grieving. In addition check out Amazon for a list of books to be read for the adults near to her, as well as read directly to her. My favorite is About Dying by Sara Bonnett Stein.

I wish you luck,

Natalie Robinson Garfield

Homepage photo: DMPhoto
Published July 22, 2016


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