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Hatchet’s Wisdom: Confronting Childhood Grief Amidst Family Separation

As we move into the holiday season, be patient with yourself. Anticipate that you and those around you will likely experience some unexpected and powerful emotions.
Two people grieving

Hatchet held a special place in my childhood—a thrilling adventure and survival story, reminiscent of the Island of the Blue Dolphins. It made me feel grown-up, tackling weighty themes like the protagonist’s parents’ divorce.

Hatchet Book Cover

A recent article jogged my memory about the book’s emotional depth, capturing the pain Brian experienced as his family unraveled—a feeling I, too, understood, as a child of divorce.

“Crying Solves Nothing”

The article’s title: ‘Crying Solves Nothing’ encapsulates a pivotal moment in the story. Brian, grappling with emotional turmoil, reaches a breaking point where he cries and cries as he realizes the peril he’s in — both in the physical and also the profound emotional challenges in his life.

When he stopped crying, he was, of course, still stranded in the wilderness and his parents were still getting divorced.

Crying didn’t help with any of those things. What helped was focus, determination, and effort.

Yet, his resilience shines through. Instead of succumbing to despair, he focuses on practical solutions—staying dry, warm, fed, and protecting himself from the wilderness.

The story’s impact wasn’t solely emotional for me; it was the boy’s determination to press forward, teaching that, amid adversity, focus, determination, and effort are the true catalysts for change.

But does this mean our children shouldn’t cry?

Yes, children and adults are resilient, but pushing through emotional pain isn’t the answer. Doing so doesn’t heal the pain. It buries it, just to continue affecting us in unexpected, yet profound, ways.

Especially in young people, unresolved grief can have profound negative impacts. It hurts our ability to concentrate, to experience the broad range of human emotions, and can lead to illness, including depression, and many other difficulties, including our ability to have deep relationships in the future.

Instead of avoiding grief, we must invite it in, feel it, process it, and let it go. The Grief Recovery Method helps provide a better way. Having been developed over many decades and helped over a million people re-find joy and focus in their lives, it guides us through this process, offering true and lasting transformation.

While it’s tempting to avoid negative emotions, we are inherently emotional beings. Suppressing emotional lows numbs us to emotional highs. Grief, residing in the heart, defies intellectual and spiritual appeals. Platitudes like ‘you’re better off now’ can hurt, denying our humanity. This is particularly true for children, especially those of divorced parents.

Grief recovery doesn’t erase memories; it diminishes emotional pain. Analogous to adjusting a stove burner from ‘High’ to ‘Low,’ completing the process can alleviate even long-expected pain. Personal experience attests to this astonishing shift.

As Hatchet suggests, Brian’s losses likely lingered throughout his life. Yet, there’s hope that individuals, like him, navigating divorce, can find emotional relief, renew hope, and move forward. The Helping Children With Loss program, launching in January, equips those working with children to address their profound losses.

Grief recovery Logo with people walking

What are our next steps?

As we move into the holiday season, be patient with yourself. Anticipate that you and those around you will likely experience some unexpected and powerful emotions. The holiday season is filled with things that bring up every emotion.

Be gentle.

Feel those feelings that arise – don’t bury them.

Apologize.

Forgive.

Express gratitude.

If you would like to learn more about the Grief Recovery Method and how it can help you and the children in your life, contact Jon Ward for a free consultation.

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