Some funerals at funeral homes in Elmira, NY are for loved ones who have died as a result of addiction. No death is easy, but deaths that have occurred because of an addiction carry a lot of extra weight and burdens for friends and family.
Drug overdose deaths are outpacing deaths by car accident and by firearms. In 2016, there were 63,000 opioid overdose deaths alone. This number exceeds the number of Americans who were killed in the Vietnam War during the 19 years that the United States was involved.
Discussing drug overdose deaths with children can be difficult. When somebody dies as a result of overdosing on drugs, there are many feelings among the living that come up. They are the tough feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, worry, anguish, blame, and isolation. Overshadowing these feelings is always the question of why.
If we’re dealing with a child who had significant exposure to a parent died because of addiction, the child is already aware on a subconscious level that life, in general, was hard, a struggle, or somehow different from the lives of other children. If a child whose parent died because of an addiction was protected from exposure to it, then drugs and death will be something they don’t know anything about. Regardless, losing a parent is a traumatic event for child.
Losing close friends to drug addiction is also hard on children. They may not have even been aware that their friend was abusing drugs, or, in some cases, the death may have been caused by the first use of a dangerous drug like fentanyl.
It’s important first to explain addiction to the child in very concrete terms on a level that they are able to understand. The first thing that the child needs to know is that an addiction is an illness that has an effect on the brain and on the behavior of another person. The child needs to know that addiction can be treated, but that it can be very hard to treat successfully.
Explain the difference between medicine that is prescribed for specific illness and drugs, legal and illegal, that can be abused. You don’t want the child to get the impression that all medicine or drugs are harmful. Therefore, the easiest way to explain addiction is to describe it as an invisible disease that makes the person use more prescription medication (or even alcohol) than is safe or use drugs that aren’t safe for anyone.
To successfully communicate with a child about an addiction death, it’s important to be prepared. Take some time to think about what you say. The conversation should be ongoing, with the foundation laid in the initial discussion of addiction, and then more added as a child asks questions or comes back at a later time to talk about it more. It’s critical not to overwhelm the child with too much information all at once.
While we are suffering our own sadness and grief over the death of a loved one due to addiction, we need to be as calm as possible when talking with children about the death. If the children really young, we’ll need to explain death first, and then explain addiction in very simple terms without a lot of details. We might just say that the person who died was sick including get better and leave it at that until the children are older and start asking more questions about the loved one died.
For more ideas about funeral music at funeral homes in Elmira, NY, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.