On average, it took at least six years before they could be happy and able to move forward again with their lives.
However, when asked about the level of support they received from family and friends, this often waned within just three months after their loss.
Unhappily, a further quarter of those surveyed stated;
- 'support declined after the first week',
- with an additional quarter of those surveyed saying- their 'support declined after the first month'.
Losing a family member can be a strangely isolating experience for many people.
Appallingly, we’ve even seen an occurrence where a large Australian supermarket chain, required its grieving staff member to ‘return to work the day after the death of their parent because of the ‘stores inability to arrange for replacement staff at such short notice’. The words shameful and unconscionable conduct spring to mind.
- While there is no timeline or formula for grief, the reality is we could all benefit from better understanding of how we can be more supportive friends and family members.
The #1 mistake adults make with a grieving child
Nobody makes their best decisions during the worst emotional time in their lives - and this applies equally to the children in our lives.
The biggest mistake we see is when people attribute adult coping skills and understanding to children.
Our new free downloadable resource for families
Against this backdrop we’ve produced a free downloadable resource, looking at how the youngest Australians, our children, deal with the unexpected loss of a parent.
We review the long-term effects of such a loss occurring during their developmental years and we look at how their families can better learn to understand their child's grief.
The statistical reality in Australia
The sad reality is every day 31 Australian families lose a parent to an unexpected death.
That equates to;
- 217 every week, or
- 11,315 unexpected deaths every year.
Why do we talk about important life matters?
We acknowledge, talking about the possible unexpected death of a parent is often a difficult thing to discuss. But only by breaking taboo barriers and having the important conversations about planning for the unexpected, can Australian parents can have greater certainty about the future security of their family.
- The good news is there are positive steps we can all take to be prepared for the unexpected.
Having a written backup plan in place, just in case, can help safeguard the best outcome for our children’s social, educational, psychological and financial stability should the unexpected occur.
But you can’t make an effective backup plan until you know what to expect.
What we can all do to help a grieving family
Often the simplest acts make the biggest difference to a grieving person.
- Reach out in person or over the phone. While social media might make sharing condolences easier, it's clear a ‘one-off message’ is not enough. Interestingly only 26% of respondents who lost a parent said they used social media to connect with other grieving individuals.
- Be deliberate to send a more personal message of support.
- Share brief remembered stories of their loved ones.
- Try and remember important dates like birthdays and the anniversary of the passing
- Continue to spend casual time with them, and
- Continue to ask how they’re doing and how they’re feeling.