Created in 2008, Children’s Grief Awareness Day is recognized by organizations in Canada, the United States, and around the world, on the third Thursday in November each year.
The goals of this significant day are to raise awareness of the impact of death on children and the benefits of support, to increase understanding of the unique needs of grieving children, and to make resources available to those who are grieving or supporting a young person who is.
According to the Canadian Alliance for Grieving Children and Youth, one in 14 children in Canada will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they turn 18 years of age. Countless more will cope with the loss of a close grandparent, friend, or pet. Childhood bereavement can have a substantial impact on a child’s emotional and cognitive development as they re-grieve meaningful losses again and again with every significant milestone. Without adequate support, children may face mental health challenges and difficulties coping with death in the future.
Dr. Alan Wolfelt, author of Companioning The Grieving Child: A Soulful Guide for Caregivers, said that “any child that is old enough to love is old enough to mourn.” Children grieve differently than adults, jumping in and out of their grief like puddles. Sadly, grieving children often feel alone, misunderstood, and different than their classmates. As a result, they end up masking their feelings and prolonging their pain. Every school and community have children who have experienced some type of loss.
On Children’s Grief Awareness Day, we recognize the needs of grieving children in our community and advocate for their support all year long. The importance of providing children with information on grief, as well as normalizing their responses, and encouraging them to share their thoughts and feelings, could not be more evident. We must seek to create spaces where children can feel secure in expressing their grief and genuinely mourn.
At Chilliwack Hospice Society, our goal is to provide free, low-barrier grief support services through a variety of programs for children and youth. We accommodate individual needs through one-to-one support, community outreach, in-school support, group support, family activities, and equine connections.
Chilliwack Hospice Society cares for the whole family. In this new video, Child and Youth Program Manager, Franceska Hills, offers a glimpse into the important work she does to support our youngest clients. Listen as some of our kids and their grownups share their personal experiences with Chilliwack Hospice Society.
To learn more about the Child and Youth Program at Chilliwack Hospice Society or to donate in honour of Children’s Grief Awareness Day, please call (604) 795-4660 or visit www.chilliwackhospice.org
Canadian Alliance for Children’s Grief. Children’s Grief Awareness Day. n.d. 10 November 2023. <https://www.grievingchildrencanada.org/index.php/children-s-grief-awareness-day>.
Caring Foundation. About. 2023. 10 November 2023. <https://www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org/cgad2/about/index.shtml>.
The Children’s Grief Foundation of Canada. Who We Are. 2023. 10 November 2023. <https://childrensgrieffoundation.org/#about>.