This week, in the heart of Children’s Grief Awareness Week, which this year focusses on ‘The Shape of Your Support’, we are thrilled to host our annual Grief Encounter Forever Night, a night where families come together to remember those people who have died and make new memories with others who understand grief. We spoke to Grief Encounter CEO, Suzy Turner Jones, on why we choose to hold a ‘Forever Night’ and why ‘Forever’ is so important as part of Children’s Grief Awareness week, and within the context of death and grief.
“Forever Night is such an important night for us during Children’s Grief Awareness Week. It’s an evening dedicated to remembering the lasting impact of the relationships we have. It shows that in the face of grief, love, support and hope, carry on.
Raising awareness about the grief experienced by so many children and young people, is critical to us all at Grief Encounter. We understand that grief takes on many shapes and can often be hidden forever from view. Forever holds a unique and individual significance for children and young people who suddenly face having to navigate the challenging landscape of grief. ‘Will it be like this now forever’.
Often associated with a sense of time suddenly standing still, the experience of the death of someone close takes on a poignant meaning of forever. Yet this needs to be understood in the context of their continuing bonds and lasting relationships (link to Useful Guide on continuing bonds), so that the sense of living with longing is soothed by being able to treasure the memories that were shared intimately with those who were close to us, as an everlasting bond. It is so incredibly important, especially to those who are grieving, to acknowledge that the shape of forever changes too.” Suzy comments.
“Forever doesn’t just mean ‘an infinite stretch of time’ but considers the influence our special people have had on us during our ‘forever’ lifetime. When we talk about ‘forever’ in the context of death, we’re acknowledging that the relationships we build don’t disappear. The memories carry on, shaping our future and giving us a sense of comfort long, long after the person has died.
Valuing how connections continue in all sort of ways and shapes, are so important in children’s developing hope and healing. Children need to understand the impact that the person had on their life, and where this is treasured it can be as a forever part of their childhood and adult life. By acknowledging the value of a sense of continuity, we help build hopeful and resilient young people.”