Sasha Mudlaff, known for her expertise in helping children and young adults navigate grief and loss, author of the children’s book “A Terrible Thing Happened,” spoke to University of Findlay students and staff on Nov. 4 prior to participating in an event for The Center for Safe and Healthy Children.
Years ago, adults often overlooked children as they dealt with their own grief, Mudlaff explained. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
“I’m very grateful we’re focused on the kids and not afraid to talk about death,” she said.
The following are some insights Mudlaff has acquired, tips she offers to those who wish to help someone who is grieving:
- Grieving is individualized. Get rid of your assumptions about how the griever should be doing things, thinking and feeling, and respond by letting them grieve in their own way.
- Allow a griever to teach you. No matter what age they are, listen to them and validate what they’re saying.
- Don’t say, “I know exactly how you’re feeling,” because you don’t.
- Tell grievers the facts about how their loved one died or was traumatized. If you don’t, they’ll find out in other ways that might be misconstrued or insensitive. Without facts, they cannot move forward.
- Allow people of all ages to express their grief by generating their own ideas and implementing those practices for memorialization and rituals.
- Honor the lives of those who have died or have been traumatized by continuing to live authentically, which will serve as a model for youth who may wish to retreat from the people and things they love.
Mudlaff is also the owner of Hamilton’s Funeral and After Life Services, which houses the Hamilton’s Academy of Grief & Loss in Des Moines, Iowa. The academy includes an extensive library of books and resource materials.