I was at school

I was at school
and it was the end of the last lesson

and the headmaster came in
and he said,

"Can you come with me to my office?"

I knew something really bad
had happened.

They were like,
"We've got some sad news."

And then it was like,
"Someone's definitely died."

And then when we got here
there were lots of police cars

and then when we went into the house
Dad told us that Benny had died.

They just said, "Benny's died.
He's had an accident."

"He's in the kitchen and he's died."

I think when we're thinking
about explaining death to a child,

for a parent we need to remember

that it's natural for them
to want to protect their child.

It'll be the hardest thing in the world
that they'd have to do,

and so to be really mindful of that,

that they'll be coming from a place
that's a very vulnerable place for them.

I'm really glad...

We never saw Benny in the kitchen
where he died.

We were told we could see him
at the mortuary.

So we went down there as a family.

If there's anything
that they're going to be part of,

like the funeral,
like before the funeral,

if they could view
the person that's died's body,

it's really important that they're
prepared for what they're going to see.

(Neil) It was important to me that,
on the day of the funeral,

we laid Benny out in this room.

Right before they put the coffin lid on
and took him up to the church

we all stood round as a family.

We'd all written some notes to Benny

and put them in the coffin
and stood round

and then we said goodbye to him.

(Jenni Thomas) Children do need
to be included as much as possible.

Children are OK if you talk about death.

They understand what that means.

It's now a year and a half,
a bit more than that, after...

It's a very important thing to think
clearly about how they're coping

and what we can do together,

and we do still do
quite a lot of stuff about Benny.

You're losing a companion
with a sibling.

You're losing somebody that you have fun
and not so much fun with sometimes.

So it is different.

I think they've all had
the same information

because we've just been very open
with all of them.

Obviously they interpret it differently

and Anna, who is nearly 12 now,
but she was ten at the time,

she seems much more
in touch with her emotions.

Shock, mostly.

I felt of course sadness as well,

but it's more of a shock
that Benny's died,

but now it kind of makes you realise
that people do actually die.

I don't think I've completely
come to terms with it yet.

I don't think it's hit me still.

There are lots and lots of different
feelings that children will have.

They can feel very anxious.
Anxiety is a big part of grief.

Your whole world's changed.

That can make a child behave
in a very agitated way,

maybe not want to be left at all.

Children can feel very worried

that if one person's died in the family
someone else could die.

Children aren't like adults
in terms of how they are

when they have
some bad and difficult news to manage.

They quite often take it on board,
they feel upset,

but they move off the painful part of it
quite quickly.

It's not that they don't feel it,
they do,

but they need to get on
and do something else.

Very often when a sibling dies

the remaining children lose their parent
at some level as well

because they lose the parent
that they knew,

certainly for some time, because they
will then be in a very grieving family.

After a while you start to understand
how you're affecting your children.

And it... There was one point
where I was really, really down

and Eddie came up to see me
in the bedroom and he said,

"Dad, you're not going to do
anything stupid, are you?"

And that was obviously a worry.

Children learn about grieving
from watching us, from watching adults.

That's how they learn.

And so it's really helpful
to say to parents,

if maybe a brother or sister's died,

"It's OK to let your other children
see how you are."

Because then the children will see
that it's OK to cry.

I've never seen Mum and Dad cry before

and so it kind of made me realise
that something had actually happened

and that something was quite bad.

That's kind of what helped me understand
that it was real.

I think it's good that they were

because it shows that it's normal
to be upset and that that's OK.

One of the things
that's helpful for children

is to have things that belong to the
parent or brother or sister that's died,

to have something
you can put in a memory box.

I think it's a shoe box
and what Benny...

It's like remembering things that
Benny liked to do and things like that.

Basically this is a CD that he liked

and me and Benny used to listen
to a lot of music together.

And this is a penknife...
because he liked being outside.

And this a photo album
with lots of photos of Benny in.

- Well, they're not of Benny...
- He took them.

Some of them.

And this is the school that he went to.

Grief isn't something
that just is there for a few weeks,

it's there for very many months

and children particularly revisit it
at each developmental stage,

so you might have done it very well
when the child was younger,

but they might need more help
a bit later on.

It's something which for children I
think is absolutely vital to understand,

that death is not a meaningless event,

it is actually
very much part of our lives,

and that's how I hope that our children
will grow to understand what's happened.