Before working with a child or teen during a loss, it is important that one explores their own thoughts and feelings about death. Unless one is unable to address their own issues regarding death, it will be impossible to help others, especially children and teens. Throughout the year Solace Tree will provide activities for the reader to explore the loss of their loved one(s). Take the time to answer some of the questions that are offered below. Make this a learning adventure for youself. Save your answers and keep them for upcoming activities.
An Activity for the Seasons
Write down the memories you had for the person who died according to the season you most remember. For example, my grandmother enjoyed walking around Idlewild park and along the Truckee river in the fall. I would then talk about other things we did when she was alive for each of the seasons.
- Draw a time line of your life span.
- What was your first experience with death?
- What were the years of all of your death experiences?
- How did your friend, pet, or family member die?
- Who told you about the death?
- How old were you?
- What was your reaction?
- Where were you, when someone told you about the death of your mom, dad,
sibling, pet, or grandparent?
- How did family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers treat you?
- Did anybody help you through the grief process?
- How did you grieve? (Grief is a normal reaction to loss – an emotional
- How did you mourn? (Mourning is taking the internal expereince of grief and expressing it outside ourselves – rituals, reactions, expression, etc.)
- Are you still mourning?
- Are you still grieving?
- Did counseling or therapy help?
- Was there any support groups?
- What has helped the loss in your life difficult or helpful?
Finish the following statements in your own words:
- As a child, I remember feeling the following about death:
- I remember thinking:
- This is what I was told happens when someone dies:
- I was most curious about:
- These were the family secrets about death:
- These are the people who talked to me about death:
- These were the questions I wanted to ask, but never did:
- As an adult, this is what I believe about death:
- As an adult, I am most curious about:
How Does Your Heart Feel Today?
- 1. Paint or draw a picture of your heart using colors and shapes that show how it really feels today.
- 2. With silly putty or play dough show how your heart feels.
- 3. Use conversation to express how your heart feels today. Pretend your heart is speaking with the person who died. Write the conversation they are having.
- 4. Choose a word from this list that best describes how your heart feels today. Then put the word on paper and make it look like your heart feels. (You can use colored markers, cutout pictures from magazines, paint, or whatever you’d like).
Take a Moment or Two
Remember a special time you had with the person who died. Capture that moment in a story or a picture. As you write or draw, feel the feelings you experienced with your loved one and show those feelings in your writing or drawing.
You can do this activity again on another day using a topic below:
- Remember a funny moment
- Remember an angry moment
- Remember a happy moment
- Remember a scary moment
- Remember a loving moment
- Remember a frustrating moment
Before and After
Draw BEFORE and AFTER pictures. Draw a picture of your house, your family or yourself before your loved one died. Now draw the picture of your house, your family or yourself after the person died.
Teen Grief Activities
- Take a memory walk along a familiar path you walked with the person who died. Remember things you did and talked about together.
- Remember angry words or a major conflict you had with the person who died. Write a letter to the person resolving the conflict. Or put an empty chair in front of you and imagine the person who died is sitting in that chair. Now speak frankly to him/her about the conflict you had.
- Make a memory box. Take a shoebox and decorate it inside and out any way you’d like. Inside the box place things that help you remember the person who died. Examples: pictures, shoestring, rock, favorite CD, etc.
- Create a cartoon strip describing a funny experience you had with the person who died.
- Cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage about your loved one.
- Create a newspaper page with headlines and stories about how you found out about the death of your loved one and how you felt.
- Write a poem about a favorite thing the person who died enjoyed doing.
- Start a journal to record your thoughts and feelings every day, using words and or drawings.
- Write a song about your loved one.
- Write a story about what’s happened in your life. It can be real or you can change the circumstances and outcomes to make them different.
- Kick a can. Find an empty pop can. Wear sneakers. Find a field or a safe place outdoors where you can be alone and kick the can as hard as you want, as far as you can, as many times as you choose. While your kicking it, feel the feelings and think the thoughts you have regarding the loss of the person who died.
- Choose words from the list below that describe how you feel right now. Write a journal entry, a poem, or song to describe the feelings you are now experiencing.