8 Important Things that Children Never Forget.

smiling cute kid_thumb[3]Re-Posted from Parent and Child Magazine

My twin daughters, Anna and Emma, are 16 years old, but they still love to relive and retell stories from their early childhood. Emma often asks to hear about how she greeted everyone with her first word, “cookie,” rather than with “hello.” Anna recounts the time she was struck with a shovel full of ice and had to go to the emergency room. “I remember being there!”; she says. “I remember lying on the bed and hearing you go, ‘Ohhh!’ The doctor was a woman, and everyone came to visit me.” She was only 2 at the time! What will your child remember from her earliest years? And what meaning do these specific memories have for your child?

For one thing, memories connect our pasts, our present, and our futures — and they connect us to one another. Our children’s memories can also lend insight into their rich inner lives, and can help them develop what Eric Neisser, founder of the Rutgers Special Education Clinic, calls “the extended knowledge of oneself across time.” Knowledge of oneself is power, and you acquire it by looking inside and at your external experiences. It is one of the ways we find meaning in our lives.

What Children Remember

Jerome Bruner, one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century, suggests that retelling events is a means for children to use narrative to reconstruct their life experiences. Bruner considers storytelling the most powerful way that people organize experience. The youngest “reminiscers” rely on others to help them create a description of the past. The language that accompanies visual imagery and experiences makes them that much stronger in our minds.

Several years ago, I embarked on a study with a colleague at the Early Childhood Education Center at the University of Vermont to capture children’s salient memories. We wanted to find out what the 5 year olds remembered at their school. We hoped to gain insight from them in order to make school a better place for our students. We wanted their memories to be part of the history of our school and to convey what had challenged them and what had brought them joy. We hoped the memories would include some of what the childrenÂ’s parents and teachers held dear. What we discovered about childrenÂ’s memories was even more profound.

We explained to the children that we wanted to help them make stories (visual memoirs) of their years at school before they left for kindergarten. We asked them how they thought they could tell a story in pictures that related what they remembered about life at school. Initially, the children met outside under a shady tree, and their teacher read stories about adults recalling moments from their own childhoods. Then everyone shared memories from school with one another.

Over the course of the project, the children spent time talking about the past and drawing the things they would “never forget.” We went on walks and took cameras with no film in them so children could practice looking at objects, places, and people through a viewfinder. Soon, the children were ready to do some photography. Throughout the process, we were constantly reflecting on the stories they spoke about.

Two hundred and eighty-eight drawings and photographs later, we noticed certain themes running through the memories the children had represented in images. We searched for common threads and patterns, and what we found became the title of the project: Children Remember Important Things.

8 Important Things

In the end we culled eight areas of memories that make an impression on young children. Here’s what children will never forget:

Being dropped off at school. The most frequent memory that children reported was the experience of being dropped off at school each morning. Many children had rituals they shared with their mothers and fathers. For example, Collin remembered this: “Mommy and I would say goodbye with a hug and say, ‘I love you more than anything.’ Then, Mommy would kiss the birds on the door to the center.” In many cases the children wanted their portrait taken saying goodbye to Mom or Dad in their particular way.
Their natural environment. Children generated stories, memories, and rich conversations with one another about classroom pets, gardens, the nearby woods, and the fountain on the University green, where they enjoyed playing freely. They also mentioned places where they sought refuge from storms. The children dramatically retold stories about changes in the weather, the excitement of big winds and rainbows, and the nervous, surprised, even frenzied emotions those changes produced.

Jumping, swinging, climbing. Children often focused on the experiences of active play, such as running, jumping, swinging, climbing, and playing hockey (which is a major pastime in Vermont and a source of real-life superheroes). A typical morning greeting among these children was, “Hey! Want to be on my team today?” Some of these memories included working and playing together and the necessity of having order, rules, and leaders.

Being good at something. The children conveyed a desire to capture images of things they had created. These memories highlight a sense of competence with processes and representation. They wanted to be viewed and known by others as being “good at something”: sewing, papermaking, block-building, painting, sculpting with clay, writing, or playing favorite games.

People I like, and who like me. Friendships are important developmentally, but it was deeply moving to listen as children described having connected with others who shared their interests, who they looked forward to spending time with, who they trusted, and who they imagined would always be part of their lives. They wanted to photograph not only the people they loved, but also the people they knew liked them in return and the people who had been kind to them.

The babies and toddlers. The children wanted to leave a legacy for the younger children they had grown fond of, or, in some cases, for the younger siblings that they would be leaving behind. They remembered eating with them, watching them grow, and understanding what they like to do. Five-year-old Finley put it most eloquently: “I want to take of picture of Rowan so he’ll remember me when I’m gone.”

Being part of the community. There were a lot of feelings the kids wanted to express about the connections they formed with people in the community. This included teachers, people on the campus who had shared food with them, people who allowed them to visit special places, and the bus drivers they were friendly with.

Places and structures. Places were often unforgettable to the children. They documented buildings and destinations that represented areas of meaning for them: the first potty they used, the cribs they slept in, and the slides in the toddler room they ventured down.
Strengthen Your Child’s Memories

Talking with your child — especially thinking out loud about what is happening, what you are doing, and why — goes a long way toward building language skills, which play an important role in remembering. We can also help by narrating as we play with children, thereby offering them a context in which to remember the lessons that play can offer.

It’s also beneficial to revisit favorite books repeatedly and to tell stories from your own life. One of the important things we offer children when we talk reflectively with them is the process of making connections between the moment they are in and previous experiences.

Looking at photographs, home movies, and past schoolwork provides opportunities for talking about what these moments represent. You can ask your child, “What feelings did you have then? How do you feel about it now? Why was this moment important?” We save so many things that our children make at school — drawings, writings, collages, photographs, and more. This adds tremendous value to the children’s experiences. It’s also helpful to write a brief anecdote that your child shares with you on the back of drawings and photographs to aid in keeping the events in our minds and reminding us of the context.

We can learn so much from understanding what moments, events, places, and people are important to young children. We should be mindful of how we say goodbye to our children and give time to creating rituals and traditions. We should find ways to ensure that our children have opportunities to spend time in nature and connect with a variety of important places that they can revisit throughout their lives. Supporting our children’s early friendships — and the enjoyment they feel from being social with other people — is an important way we help them to know and remember that they are loved.

Share your feelings and your point of view as well. Telling stories about yourself is more than just interesting to your children — through your stories, they learn that you believe it is important to give voice to memories, impressions, feelings, and events that may otherwise be held inside and eventually forgotten. They learn how to recount their memories and, more importantly, that you care and expect them to talk about their lives and what matters to them the most.


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Bella Thorne Explains Sharing Her Father’s Death (“I couldn’t cry”) in Her New Book

video-undefined-23C8E4C900000578-356_636x358By Yahoo Celebrity Staff

Don’t be fooled by her willowy frame: Bella Thorne is a beast. With successful careers in film, television, and music — not to mention nearly 6 million followers on Twitter, 4 million on Instagram, and 9 million on Facebook — the 17-year-old has become quite the influencer. And now she’s about to take over the publishing world, too.

Thorne’s first young adult novel, Autumn Falls, arrives in stores this week. If you’re not a Bellarina or a Bellarino who has been counting down the days until the book’s release, you should know that the teen did what the best authors three times her age (and more) do: write about what they know. And Bella knows loss (her father died in an auto accident in 2007). And challenges (she is dyslexic). And bullying. And romance.

Bella and her Dad

Bella and her Dad

The book — the first of a trilogy — follows a young lady named Autumn Falls and kicks off with the shocking and sudden death of her dad in a car crash. Soon after, Autumn, her mother, and her brother move out of state and she’s forced to start at a new school. New friends and new boys abound, but so does a fresh new rumor mill… and it’s brutal. Through it all, Autumn writes her wishes in a journal left to her by her father — to a potentially magical effect.

Thorne also knows honesty, which was probably the biggest takeaway from our lengthy chat with her about the book. Bella was open about her work with ghostwriter Elise Allen, and even more open when the discussion turned to her experience with losing her father and her family being taunted about it.

What was your writing process like?

I’ll draft out some stuff and write down some ideas where I want the story to go chapter by chapter. I’ll hand it to my ghostwriter and we’ll talk about the things that really need to be portrayed by these characters. … We try to have something happen in every chapter. You know what your main thing is, then you kind of write the story around it.

How much did you really collaborate with your ghostwriter?

We work together very well. She’s amazing and really knows what she’s doing. She’ll send back to me a draft and then I’ll make more notes and send it back to her. We keep that process for awhile and then we’ll send it to the editor and see what they think and get notes back.

There are so many parallels between your life and Autumn’s, particularly in relation to the death of her father. It felt a bit like you laid it all out there.

Exactly. I laid it all out there. … When my father first died, the day I heard it, I couldn’t cry. It was very odd. You’re still in a state of shock, I think. That’s kind of where Autumn is. There are times where I’m completely normal even to this day and I’m just like, “Oh, that light post looks nice. I wonder if Daddy would like that light post.” And then, all of a sudden, I realize I’m crying…

A lot of what happened to [Autumn], like the outside forces, too. There’s a rumor that she’s upset about and when she wakes up and hears [her father’s] voice — those are things in the book that happened to me and I wanted Autumn to feel that pain.

That stuff couldn’t have been very easy to write. Were there tears shed in the process?

Oh my God, there were so many.

You mentioned the rumor a classmate spreads that put the blame for her father’s death squarely on Autumn’s shoulders. What’s the real-life version of that incident?

The rumor happened a little bit differently to my family — not to me but to my family. It was so messed up and I just felt that it was a good thing to write in the book because people can be so evil.

How does some of that compare to some of the things you see written about you online now?

It’s just 10 times worse. I mean, it’s just my life. I’m not in public high school like Autumn is. … I realized that people can read whatever they want and they’re going to choose to believe it because they want to, not because it’s the truth, but because they want to believe you’re doing this or that. If they want to believe it, there’s no changing their minds, and that’s the same thing in high school.

Kyler Leeds is Autumn’s big celebrity crush. Who is your Kyler Leeds?

If I was in the time of the ’80s when Billy Squier was really big, he would have been my Kyler Leeds. I think he’s amazing and I love his music videos even though they are so much older.

One book down, two to go. Is that scary?

When Autumn Falls comes out and does well, I’ll be less worried. When I get feedback from my followers and they say how much they love it and this part inspired them and this would happen in their life and “Oh, Autumn went through this. So did I. I loved that you put it in there,” that’s when I’ll be happy.

I just really, really hope that everyone loves it and is like, “Wow, this girl isn’t just the Disney Channel girl. This is a girl that had hard times. This is a girl that has been through a lot of stuff and is still standing strong, still here.” I really hope people see that.

Annabella Avery “Bella” Thorne[1] (born October 8, 1997) is an American actress, singer, model, and dancer. She is best known for her roles as Ruthy Spivey in the TV series My Own Worst Enemy, Tancy Henrickson in the fourth season of Big Love, and CeCe Jones on the Disney Channel series Shake It Up. She appeared in the 2014 film Blended as Hilary / “Larry”.

Read more: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/bella-thorne-explains-sharing-her-fathers-death-and-more-in-new-book-20141311#ixzz3LJXTJi6l


Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page or follow us @familyliveson Twitter Account or @familyliveson Instagram. To check out our 30-second PSA click here: The Family Lives On PB & J PSA.

Family Lives On’s Tradition Program is a free (to the family enrolled), direct service for children that supports their bereavement process. The program takes place within the child’s daily family life, helping children continue the traditions they celebrated with their deceased parent.

Grief doesn’t magically end at a certain point after a loved one’s death. Reminders often bring back the pain of loss. Here’s help coping — and healing.

Re-Posted from Mayo-Clinic In-Depth

By Mayo Clinic Staff

When a loved one dies, you might be faced with grief over your loss again and again — sometimes even years later. Feelings of grief might return on the anniversary of your loved one’s death, birthday or other special days throughout the year.

These feelings, sometimes called an anniversary reaction, aren’t necessarily a setback in the grieving process. They’re a reflection that your loved one’s life was important to you.

To continue on the path toward healing, know what to expect — and how to cope with reminders of your loss.

Reminders Can Be Anywhere:

Certain reminders of your loved one might be inevitable, especially on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and other special days that follow your loved one’s death.

Reminders aren’t just tied to the calendar, though. They can be tied to sights, sounds and smells — and they can ambush you. You might suddenly be flooded with emotions when you drive by the restaurant your partner loved or when you hear your child’s favorite song. Even memorial celebrations for others can trigger the pain of your own loss.

What to Expect When Grief Returns:

Anniversary reactions can last for days at a time or — in more extreme cases — much longer. During an anniversary reaction you might experience:

Trouble sleeping

Anniversary reactions can also evoke powerful memories of the feelings and events surrounding your loved one’s death. For example, you might remember in great detail where you were and what you were doing when your loved one died.

Tips to Cope with Reawakened Grief:

Even years after a loss, you might continue to feel sadness when you’re confronted with reminders of your loved one’s death. As you continue healing, take steps to cope with reminders of your loss. For example:

Be prepared. Anniversary reactions are normal. Knowing that you’re likely to experience anniversary reactions can help you understand them and even turn them into opportunities for healing.
Plan a distraction. Schedule a gathering or a visit with friends or loved ones during times when you’re likely to feel alone or be reminded of your loved one’s death.

Reminisce about your relationship. Focus on the good things about your relationship with your loved one and the time you had together, rather than the loss. Write a letter to your loved one or a note about some of your good memories. You can add to this note anytime.

Start a new tradition. Make a donation to a charitable organization in your loved one’s name on birthdays or holidays, or plant a tree in honor of your loved one.

Connect with others. Draw friends and loved ones close to you, including people who were special to your loved one. Find someone who’ll encourage you to talk about your loss. Stay connected to your usual support systems, such as spiritual leaders and social groups. Consider joining a bereavement support group.

Allow yourself to feel a range of emotions. It’s OK to be sad and feel a sense of loss, but also allow yourself to experience joy and happiness. As you celebrate special times, you might find yourself both laughing and crying.

When Grief Becomes Overly Intense:

There’s no time limit for grief, and anniversary reactions can leave you reeling. Still, the intensity of grief tends to lessen with time.

If your grief gets worse over time instead of better or interferes with your ability to function in daily life, consult a grief counselor or other mental health provider. Unresolved or complicated grief can lead to depression and other mental health problems. With professional help, however, you can re-establish a sense of control and direction in your life — and return to the path toward healing.


Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page or follow us @familyliveson Twitter Account or @familyliveson Instagram. To check out our 30-second PSA click here: The Family Lives On PB & J PSA.

Holiday Grieving: How to Best Support the Mourning This Time of Year

Spiced-Gingerbread-Man-Cookies-4-1Re-Posted from Huffington Post Blog

by Dr. Cara Barker 

The table is set. One chair is empty. Meanwhile, the rest of the world goes merrily on its way, as if nothing whatsoever has happened. Traditional songs are sung, festivities held, presents purchased, speculations made about whether the economy is “back.” But there is one group of people too-oft overlooked, not out of indifference, but really out of confusion. What do you do when someone you love is grieving, especially this time of year? Do you really know how to best support those who mourn during the holidays?

Intially, it is tough for those suffering profound loss to find their footing, much less connect with the hustle and bustle of what comes this time of year. Too often, those of us who are aware of the bereaved get tangled up in our efforts to help, feeling incredibly awkward. What follows is a simple guide that can boost your confidence, and their sense of being understood, and loved.

Bridge Building. Keep it simple. The real issue beneath loss is that love needs an outlet and a means of contact. When someone dies, physical connection seems broken. Love’s flow gets interupted. Now, you know what happens when a river gets obstructed: cess, turbulence, and disturbance. Holding back your compassion, for fear of “blowing it,” only makes matters worse. The bereaved are not looking for perfect. They are longing to re-establish connection with what heals their heart. Be this bridge.

What if you simply shared how grateful you are that your loved one is in your life? If you knew the person/s they lost, you could add a brief statement about your appreciation for them, as well. It helps to get specific. What we are “going for” here, is a means of bridge building across the chasm they are feeling, which tends to estrange them from life and living. They are where they are. This will shift, over time, if they are willing to take their time, be real, take themselves seriously, and open to growing forward through what’s happened. But, that is then and this is now. At this time, connection is what’s needed.

Let’s get real. It might surprise you to know, increasingly, what the grieving are finding annoying is the statement: ‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’ Believe me, privately, they tell me.

Listen in, and I’ll share some quotes: “Gretta”: This 47 year Old Dutch widow, who lost her husband four weeks ago, whispers the following:

I know that my friends are trying to be nice. But if I hear that statement one more time (“I’m so sorry for your loss.”) I’m going to scream. I know they don’t know what to say, so they are trying. I wish they wouldn’t try so hard and just be real. I have no idea how to be with myself, especially now with the holidays. I feel really isolated.

“Harvey”: Following a 4 year marriage to his “dream girl,” Helen is killed in an accident two weeks ago. Says he:

I have no idea what to do or where to go this year. I’m alone. Really alone. It’s too quiet. I like the quiet, and I don’t like it. People look at me with pity. I’m uncomfortable at work, although I know people feel for me. But, no one really says anything. I feel like a leper. The subject of the holidays is up and, maybe I’m paranoid or something, but they seem to start to nearly whisper when the subject of plans comes up. I’m afraid they must be worried and not know what to do.

“Martin”: Martin and his wife lost their 4 year old to leukemia in August.

I’m having such a hard time going to work. I can’t even imagine making it through the holidays. Halloween was the pits. Annie was so happy last year, trick-or-treating in her Dora costume. I’m a mess. I never know when ‘the wave’ will hit, and I’m reduced to tears, when I least expect. How in the h—- am I going to get through Christmas? We just love Christmas, always went to our cabin in the mountains. Nobody gets it, either. They try, but they don’t. I need a playbook. So do they.

Playbook for Supporting Those Who Mourn During the Holidays: 8 Practical Tips

Let them grieve. No kidding. Do not underestimate what I call the Power of the Listening Heart.
Make contact statements that are true for you.

Example: “I’ve been thinking about you. I don’t know what to say. I can imagine that the holidays are pretty charged this year.”

Now, just listen.

Your job is neither to be the fix-it person, nor be clever. Lay down that burden. Just be you. When you are fumbling for what to do, say it! e.g. ‘I’m fumbling for what to say. I wish I were good with words.’

Listen to your instinct. Trust it. When the time seems right, say something like:

“I find myself wondering if there is something I can do for you during this time? An errand to run? A time to share a cup of coffee? Maybe we can just be together, without agenda? A walk through the park, or in nature, where we are away from the entire hustle bustle? I’m open to what seems right.”

Offer some form of acknowledgment to them. How can you share something that represents how grateful you are for being in their life? Keep it simple. Perhaps you could do one of the following:
a) Compose a little love note that let’s them know their qualities that you are especially fond of, and give you cause for appreciation for your relationship.

b) Collect some autumn leaves, tie some ribbon/raffia around them, and offer them as a token of your love. If you have the energy: put the aforementioned around a votif candle in a glass holder, and offer it as an ‘I’m thinking about you, especially now.” You won’t find this token at the Mall, nor on Cyberspace.

c) Find a picture in a magazine that reminds you of some memory or dream for the future you share. Mount it on paper, say a few words, and drop it by, or send it.

d) Share a cup of hot cocoa. Feel good remedies are winners.

When you think of this person, call them! Even if you have only a few moments, that’s O.K… You can even say:

“I’ve only got a moment, but I was thinking about you just now and wanted you to know I’m here.”
Evenings can be especially tough since the noise of the day subsides. It’s a great time for check in, just to give the message, ‘you are in my heart.’

Use your own words. You cannot fail.

Remember, your job is not to take away the loss. Your job is to be you, be real, and be a fair witness to one of the most difficult times in your loved one’s life. One of the most supporting factors in growing forward through grief is reconnecting with life without feeling pushed.

Never underestimate the power of your love, the beauty of your outreach. It is a gift that is so rare, it will never be forgotten. It is a treasure so rich, that it cannot be purchased. Priceless, just like you!

Now, your turn. What’s helped you most during the holidays when you’ve struggled, or known someone else who is hurting? What’s helped? What’s hindered? What do you wish others knew about how to build a bridge to you? I’m listening!

Thanks for passing this along to those you love.

Dr. Cara Barker is an author, analyst, and founder of The Love Project, Love Fests and Retreats. For more, see carabarker.net. For updates, contact her at http://www.carabarker.net, or dr.carabarker@gmail.com. To save time, click on Become a Fan. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including “Practicing Love.” I’ve got a great idea for those of you who are willing to step out on the playing field and have an amazing time. Stay tuned! Follow Dr. Cara Barker on http://www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker.

Follow Dr. Cara Barker on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker

Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page or follow us @familyliveson Twitter Account or @familyliveson Instagram. To check out our 30-second PSA click here: The Family Lives On PB & J PSA.

9 Things I Learned In The Year After My Mother Passed

mothers_day_ukRe-Posted from Elite Daily.

by Alyssa Samson

Scars: They are a testament to injury, proof of survival and, at times, as indiscernible as a line etched delicately along the crevice of an eye. Although not all mar the physical appearance, they are all there, emotionally and mentally etched upon the skin like a latticework of fragmented memories and barely-remembered moments.

As badges of both honor and dishonor, scars are forever, branded on the heart, and as time continues, we soldier on, somehow stronger.

It was a Sunday. November 3, 2013 inflicted a wound like none other, reaching inside of me and tearing out what was left of my beating heart. It was the day I shattered to a million pieces without a hope in the world to piece it back together.

It was the day I lost my mother.

I’m not sure how one describes the jumble of emotions, the racket of wailings or the enduring isolation that follows when a mother passes. The very fabric of life seems to buckle and cave in from the sheer burden of it all. Sense no longer works as a blanket of indifference that separates you from the raw emotions and delight of life.

Breathing is an effort. Organs go on strike. And then, life lurches forward with a momentum so strong that it defies physics. Suddenly, I found myself lost and alone, suffocating in a world of white noise.

It didn’t matter if I was in a crowd of people or surrounded by those I had left. I felt a visceral separation and an undercurrent of another seething emotion.

I was angry. That day had taken my biggest supporter and my number-one fan from me, and I wanted to give up. Words fail to exhaustively articulate the painful parting of mother and daughter… or having to write your mother’s eulogy at age 24… or the knowledge that you’ll never hear her voice again.

Or, the desperation of listening to every voicemail you ever saved on repeat, just to capture a last lingering moment with her.

Losing someone so significant, inspirational and influential is an experience no textbook or novel could begin to teach me to comprehend. Now, as a year without her approaches, I count my moments by breaths and no longer by hours or minutes.

As I look back on the breaths I have survived, struggling to cross that bridge of adversity and pain, I have figured out how to survive. Here’s what I’ve learned:

I learned the world won’t stop for you.

There are many days that still leave me defeated, but life isn’t a video game. You can’t pause the moment or rewind time; you are not given an infinite number of lives.

You are given one life, and the world will continue to move on, despite the fact you may feel like your whole world has stopped. The only way to heal is to keep moving.

I learned your troubles will not always be at the forefront of everyone else’s mind.

When you are fighting your own internal battles, it seems surreal when no one else notices the torment raging just below your surface. You may feel as though you are screaming and railing against the bars of life, but still, no one will hear you.

Through this experience, I learned people will move on quicker than you will. Sympathy is fleeting when you are not the one with an injured wing — and that’s okay.

I learned love knows no boundaries.

I used to fear that moving away from those I loved most would hinder my relationships and somehow fade with physical distance. Now, I fear the unrequited stream of communication with the person I love most will cause those precious memories to slip through my fingers, like a wisp of smoke.

But love — unconditional love, at that — knows no boundaries; it will never be lost, regardless of the distance in time and space.

I learned that though people can’t be replaced, you can still find peace.

Justifying death can put you on a journey with a revolving door. It is endless and forever spinning. No amount of begging, crying or yelling could possibly right the wrong you feel.

While it will take a lifetime to recover from the emptiness I feel, I have taken a step down the path of self-preservation to find peace within myself.

I learned there is strength in perception.

You could spend years wondering why the world chose to plague you with misery and misfortune or you can pick up your head and see the heartbreak around you. Someone else may be willing to give everything to have the gifts you overlook in your own life.

When sadness and despair begin to close in around me, I find myself redirecting those thoughts to others who are struggling elsewhere. Reevaluating the negatives in your life with a different perspective can often bring you a step closer toward reconciliation.

I learned to be grateful for what you still have.

The happiest people are those who value what they have rather than focusing on what they lack. How can you appreciate the good without the bad? If you lost something or someone dear to you, take a moment to appreciate everything you still have within reach, regardless of how big or small.

I learned you still have control in your life.

Understanding you have control over your emotions and actions is the first step toward overcoming any obstacle.

You may not be able to change everything that happens to you in life, but you can change how you react and behave in challenging situations and the direction you choose next.

I learned adversity isn’t an excuse to give up.

Motivation. Dreams. Goals. Focusing on forward movement will not only keep you from remaining stuck in the past, but also help to purify your thoughts.

In the end, after you overcome those struggles, you can look back to see the strength in your pain. You can rarely recover what you lost, but you still have everything to gain.

I learned it’s never truly goodbye, only see you later.

I know in my heart my mother will never be gone, even when I’m aging in my rocking chair. As the one person in my life who is irreplaceable, I know she will always be there. So, it is not goodbye, just see you later — until next time.


Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page.

The Emotion Which Lasts 240 Times Longer Than Others: Which emotion takes an average of 4 days to pass, and why?

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by Dr. Jeremy Dean

Sadness is the longest lasting of the emotions, finds one of the first ever studies to look at why some emotions last much longer than others.

When compared with being irritated, ashamed, surprised and even bored; it’s sadness which outlasts the others.

The study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, found that sadness tended to be associated with events which had a major long-term impact on people’s lives, such as bereavement (Verduyn & Lavrijsen, 2014).

Saskia Lavrijsen, who co-authored the study, explained:

“Rumination is the central determinant of why some emotions last longer than others.

Emotions associated with high levels of rumination will last longest.

Emotions of shorter duration are typically — but, of course, not always — elicited by events of relatively low importance.

On the other hand, long-lasting emotions tend to be about something highly important.”
The results come from a survey of 233 students who were asked to recall emotional experiences and how long they had lasted.

Here is the amount of time that each emotion lasted, on average:


At the extremes, while disgust and shame tended to pass within 30 minutes, sadness continued on for an average of 120 hours.

Boredom, meanwhile, tended to pass in a couple of hours, although naturally it feels like longer!

There were also fascinating patterns amongst linked emotions.

For example, fear tended to be short-lived, while its close cousin anxiety lasted much longer.

Similarly, the hot burn of shame passed relatively quickly, but the feeling of guilt tended to hang around much longer.


Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page.

A Child’s Eye View of Death: The Power of Picture Books to Explain

Death and bereavement are difficult facts for parents to teach small children, made harder still if they are grieving themselves. But many authors have found elegant ways to start the process.

Re-Posted from: The Guardian


Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? Written by Elke & Alex Barser,             Illustrations by Anna Jarvus

By Imogen Russell Williams

Dealing with death, in picture books and early readers, is a challenge for parents and publishers alike. There’s often a knee-jerk feeling of revulsion to contend with – “That’s a bit dark”, or “Surely they’re too young for that?” – the readerly equivalent of the sign against the evil eye.

But toddlers and pre-schoolers are likely to encounter some form of loss, even in their early lives – whether in animal form, or when a grandparent or even a parent dies. For a choked-up, grieving adult, or for one who wants to prepare a child for life’s only inevitability, a well chosen book can speak volumes.

Books dealing with the loss of someone close, especially a parent, are probably needed only in the dreaded specific situation, since reading a story in which a parent dies (outside the safely formula-bound, once-removed world of fairytale) is likely to induce fearsome anxiety in young kids. They’re hard going for adults, too: I only have to hear the title of Elke Becker’s Is Daddy Coming Back In A Minute? to feel a nose-prickling urge to stick my head under the pillow. But Becker’s book, which uses her son’s own words to ask and answer questions about death, is extraordinary, laying out with clarity and tenderness the anxiety, curiosity and unavoidable, drawn-out sorrow that a parent’s loss brings in its wake. Her second book, What Happened to Daddy’s Body?, also deals directly and sensitively with the realities of burial and cremation.


Missing Mummy, by Rebecca Cobb

Similarly, Rebecca Cobb’s Missing Mummy, for the youngest children, and, Holly Webb’s A Tiger Tale, for slightly older readers, focus clear-sightedly on children’s fears, curiosity and feelings of being cut adrift. Webb’s book, about a little girl who’s lost her grandad, deals sensitively with the discomfort of grief’s etiquette, too: Kate is bemused by adult mourners laughing at fond memories, unsure whether and when she is allowed to feel happy.

But what about pre-emptively dealing with death, in more general terms – is it a good idea, or one that generates more anxiety than it allays? Personally, knowing that a much-loved but ancient Jack Russell was soon to be no more, I prepared the ground with my two-year-old, who had already begun to ask questions about what memorials meant. I found myself floundering when I tried to answer these, either overcomplicating matters or abruptly changing the subject (“Oh look – a squirrel!”). I am not a Christian, and didn’t really want to suggest dog heaven (or human heaven, for that matter), but I didn’t trust myself to find the solid middle ground between bald fact and emotional comfort. I tried Goodbye Mog, but I couldn’t read it myself without dissolving into strangulated sobs, which defeated the purpose. (I grew up on Mog myself, and am frankly not yet ready for her to be dead.)

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Lifetimes, The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children Written by Bryan Mellonie & Illustrated by Robert Ingpen

So I ordered an American book first published in the 1980s, called Lifetimes. This has a calm, inexorable tone throughout, and illustrations which evoke the beauty of death in nature – broken shells, ants, butterflies – as well as the vivid joy of being alive (although the pictures of people are a little dated now). “It is the way they live, and it is their lifetime,” is its refrain. I won’t say it’s a firm favourite of my daughter’s, but it provided me with a solid foundation, a simple, straightforward script – and it did seem to help when the poor old dog disappeared.


Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch: making peace with death.

There’s a still more thought-provoking approach in the German book Duck, Death and the Tulip, in which Duck becomes aware, one day, that someone with a skull for a head, and a rather natty tartan coat, is following her everywhere. Eventually, she chums up with friendless Death, talking to him about the afterlife, and what will happen to her after she dies. Then she does die, and Death tends to her body, placing it gently in the river which carries it away.

Making peace with the idea of death as a constant companion, something that awaits everyone, and which is better reconciled with than feared, is an uncomfortable prospect for many parents; unsurprisingly, perhaps, since adults struggle with the idea too, sometimes till the end of their lives. But it might lessen the seismic nature of grief and fear a little, for both young children and adults, if we grew up with the idea of death as both inevitable and essential, instead of keeping it at arm’s length.


Family Lives On Foundation supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children whose mother or father has died. Our Tradition Program provides opportunities for intentional remembering, creating a safe haven for grief, communication, and celebration. To enroll in the program as a family in need, donate, volunteer or for more information visit the Family Lives On Foundation website or Facebook Page.