As a relatively new professional in the insurance industry and until recently a lifelong New Yorker, moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Long Island has been an adjustment. I knew my first order of business would be to begin to establish myself in my new community. What I didn’t know was that I’d find my true point of connection in an unexpected place.
Part of my job as an insurance agent is to offer compassion and peace of mind to grieving families. Receiving a loved one’s final gift can be a bright spot in otherwise difficult circumstances. It helps ease the burden of financial worry, that day and for the days to come. But it doesn’t heal grief — especially for the youngest ones who often don’t receive enough or the right kind of support.
In fact, grief among children is endemic. Research shows that one in 14 children will lose a parent or sibling before age 18; nearly all American youths will experience a close personal loss before completing high school.
Children are resilient, but grief can powerfully affect their psychological, emotional and social wellbeing — at home, but at school too, where children spend a significant portion of their waking hours. Although classrooms are ongoing repositories of grief, most K-12 educators say they haven’t received training on childhood grief. In turn, some may shy away from offering care to students.