Some funerals at funeral homes in Bellingham, WA are the result of sudden deaths. Sudden deaths come in many forms. Car accidents are one form. A driver may be distracted or impaired and plow into a vehicle with several people, some of whom may be killed. Another type of sudden death is a work accident. A forklift driver in a warehouse may misjudge the edge of the loading dock and drive the forklift off of it.
Freak accidents, such as a tree falling on a vehicle or house or being struck by lightning, are another type, as are boating and swimming accidents, where people drown. And murder, whether it’s one person or many people, is a type of sudden death.
None of these deaths are expected. They shock us and we as adults can often struggle with feelings of disbelief.
Children have different reactions to sudden deaths. Some children, regardless of their ages, will experience minimal and short-lived grief, while other children will show signs of anxiety and fear, and phobias associated with whatever caused the sudden death may start to develop. Across the board, when children experience a sudden death, their sleep routines are initially disturbed and they experience problems in both learning and behavior at school.
It’s hard to gauge how children will individually react to sudden deaths or why some children are more susceptible to long-term effects than other children. A child’s age can be one factor. The younger the child is, if they were not directly exposed to or involved in the incident that caused the sudden death, the more likely they will have short-lived grief and loss, but then be able to move forward without anxieties, fears, and phobia.
Like adults, much of a child’s reaction to a sudden death is tied to their personality and temperament, how much exposure they had to the death, and the degree to which they were powerless during the trauma of the death.
Children have quite complex stress responses – as adults do – but children do not have the benefit of age and experience to fully comprehend those responses. One of the responses is likely to be that there’s nothing in life that is predictable. Another response may be that danger and death lurk around every corner waiting for them.
Sometimes the type of trauma that caused the sudden death defines how a child may respond to it. For example, if the cause of sudden death was a car accident and the child was in the vehicle, but survived, the child may become very sensitive to and afraid of any loud noise. If the child was injured in the car accident, the stress from not only the car accident, but the treatment for the injuries, may be significantly higher.
It’s interesting to note that when a child experiences the death of someone very close to them, such as a parent or a sibling, whether the death is sudden or not, the child will believe that they responsible for the person’s death. They may be decades into adulthood when they realize the death wasn’t their fault.
Survivor’s guilt is also a common reaction in children who’ve experienced a sudden death. Much of this may come from the investigative questions about the death that they don’t have answers to.
The loss of familiarity, which often happens to children in the case of sudden death, where sometimes everything is turned upside down, can lead to the child seeing the world as an unsafe, scary place that they want to avoid, and they may begin to withdraw into themselves.
For additional information about funeral homes, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Cremations – Bayview Chapel is here to help. We also serve the areas of Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA. You can visit our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can call us today at (360) 733-0510.