Chapter 4: When death is sudden or unexpected

When adults are overwhelmed by grief

My kids were at home when the police came to the door. They saw me collapse on the floor, sobbing. 

It's natural for adults to be overcome by grief when they learn about an unexpected death. Although it’s healthy for children to see adults grieving, it can be scary for them to see a parent who's completely overwhelmed. Children shouldn't be put in a position where they feel they must look after an adult. 

If your children see you or another adult overcome by grief:

  • Talk with them afterwards.
  • Ask what they saw and how it affected them. 
  • If it was you who was overwhelmed, reassure your child you can still look after them. 

Learn more about looking after yourself at in the Caring for yourself module.