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Children’s Grief Awareness Week: A letter to my younger self

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This Children’s Grief Awareness Week, four Winston’s Wish Young Ambassadors have written a letter to their younger selves. In these powerful letters, Teigan, Grace, Maisie and Tom tell their younger selves how they will cope with their grief following the death of their important people.

Children’s Grief Awareness Week is taking place from 18-25th November 2021. This year, the week is focused on the benefit of support and hearing directly from the bereaved children and young people themselves. Teigan, Grace, Maisie and Tom all received support from Winston’s Wish and in these letters they share how they coped with their grief.

I want you to be under no impression that it will be easy, but you will grow strong and learn a lot about your grief and what this awful loss means for you.


Dear (11 year old ) Teigan,

I am writing to you on the 26th of June 2014.

Later this night your mum is going to die. In the early hours of the morning on the 27th.

But you have known this day was coming, which doesn’t make it any easier. She has been ill with a brain tumour around three years. You’ve watched her become more poorly. You’ve seen the effects of the illness, the chemo, the radio therapy, the operations, the cancer itself.

You’ve seen her appearance change, her face swell and hair fall out, the developed epilepsy, the fits, her speech and eye sight deteriorate.

You’ve done so much with her, to make sure her life was as good as it could be; hot air balloon rides, holidays, trips to London, helicopter flights, to name a few things.

And yet nothing will ever prepare you for the after effects of the 27th of June 2014.

This is a letter to tell you how strong you are, how resilient you will learn to be.


Dear Grace (8 years old),

It is 26th June 2009 and I am writing to explain how drastically life is going to change. The night before you will go to bed like normal. You will tell Dad you love him and kiss him goodnight. Mum will put you to bed because Dad can’t manage the stairs anymore. You will go to sleep.

Then you will wake up and your whole world will change. The feeling of the carpet in between your toes, the ache in your chest, the silence of the house, these are all things that you will remember for the rest of your life. Mum is taking you to her room and Grandma is in the bed not Dad. That’s when Mum is going to tell you Daddy has died and in your heart you knew, you felt it the moment you woke up. You’re going to be shocked, confused and in pain. The funeral will come and go. The whole year will be stages of blackness and then vivid memories but you will smile and laugh again.

I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. You are loved and surrounded by the most amazing people.


Dear Maisie (7),

Things are tough right now, we’ve always hated change, and ironically, that doesn’t change. People say change is good, but not always. Somethings you don’t understand, and you won’t for a while, but that’s okay. Even adults don’t have the answers to everything.

I know you miss your big sister; you ask Mummy when she is coming home from her travels, but in some way, she isn’t far away. Maybe we’ll see her again someday, but maybe we won’t. I just want you to know that it does get easier. Over time when we look back at the memories we have with her, we don’t get sad anymore, we are happy because we have those memories. We are happy because we are so lucky to have something of her to cherish.

Tomorrow your whole world is going to change in a way that you could never imagine.


Dear Tom (14 yrs),

It is 1st May 2019, and I am writing this letter to let you know that tomorrow your whole world is going to change in a way that you could never imagine.

On Thursday 2nd May 2019 Mum will pick you up from school and tell you that Dad has cancer, a type of cancer that is not curable. The words don’t seem to make sense and you can’t understand or take it in. You know that Dad has not been well, but you didn’t know he had cancer. He has become very ill and is in hospital.

You will learn that he had been ill for some time but didn’t want to tell you. He wanted to protect you and he had hoped that the treatment he was receiving would give him some more time with you.

Help us to raise awareness of the needs of grieving children and the support available by joining in with Children’s Grief Awareness Week on social media, using the hashtag #SayTheWords

If you know a bereaved child or young person who needs support or would like guidance on how you can help them, please contact the Winston’s Wish Helpline team. You can call 08088 020 021, email or use our online chat.