One day after a La Cañada Flintridge pre-kindergarten student at , Principal Debra Cradduck reached out to school parents, addressing the grief process and encouraging them to watch for behavior thay may require further attention.
Emily Fu, 6, was pulled from her family's pool in the 4900 block of Indianola Way just after 7 p.m. Monday, during the neighborhood's traditional Memorial Day block party. Paramedics could not resuscitate the girl and she was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Sheriffs Department homicide investigators said it was an accidental drowning.
According to the Pasadena Star News, Fu neighbor Kermit Achterman told the newspaper that families at the party Monday evening were talking and eating, and kids were playing water games in the front yard, when everyone heard "a terrible screaming."
Achterman said his daughter-in-law Yvonne and another neighbor ran to the pool and performed CPR on Emily, but it was too late, the article states.
Patch reader Ellen Change left this comment on the :
"She goes to my school. I remember her as a lovely girl. Although I never talked to her, I could see by the way she treated others. I regret so much that I never said a word to her. I'm very sorry Emily. God bless you.''
Coping with Grief and Loss
Tuesday afternoon, Cradduck sent an email to PCY parents and families, encouraging them to talk with their children about loss, as it will help them cope.
Late last night, one of our PCY families experienced a tragedy. During a Memorial Day celebration, a student from our Pre-K classroom passed away unexpectedly. The student is survived by her parents and eighth grade brother.
Throughout the day, the District Crisis Response Team has helped support the students, families and staff by providing counseling and additional resources to those as needed. The family has expressed their appreciation of cards and artwork. If you would like to send the family something, please use black, white, and pastel colors only. Memorial service information will be forthcoming.
Children experience the grieving process in many ways. Children and youth may experience some or all of the following stages in varying intensity and even repeat stages.
The general stages of the grief process are:
- Denial (unwillingness to discuss the loss)
- Anger or guilt (blaming others for the loss)
- Sorrow or depression (loss of energy, appetite, or interest in activities)
- Bargaining (attempts to regain control by making promises for changes in one's life)
- Acceptance or admission (acceptance that loss is final, real, significant and painful)
The above behaviors are expected and natural reactions to a loss. However, please keep an eye on your children for the following behaviors which may warrant further attention and/or support:
- Preschool level:
- Decreased verbalization
- Increased anxiety (e.g., clinginess, fear of separation)
- Regressive behaviors (e.g., bedwetting, thumb sucking)
- Elementary school level:
- Difficulty concentrating or inattention
- Somatic complaints (e.g., headaches, stomachaches)
- Sleep disturbances (e.g., nightmares, fear of the dark)
- Increased irritability, disruptive behavior, or aggressive behavior
- Depression, guilt, or anger
- Middle and high school level:
- Emotional numbing or depression
- Avoidance or withdrawal
- Peer relationship problems
Familial support following a loss will influence how children grieve. When family members are able to talk about the loss, express their feelings, and provide support for children in the aftermath of a loss, children are better able to develop healthy coping strategies. Family members are encouraged to:
- Talk about the loss. This gives children permission to talk about it too.
- Ask questions to find out how children are processing the loss. Listen patiently. Remember each child is unique and will grieve in his/her own way.
- Be prepared to discuss the loss repeatedly. Children may need to talk more than once about the deceased person, the details of the loss or how their lives have been affected.
- Give children important facts about the event appropriate to their developmental level, and try not to use euphemisms. Children may have a hard time understanding vague terminology and not know how to ask for clarification.
- Help children understand the death and intervene to correct false perceptions about what caused the event. Make sure they do not blame themselves for what happened.
- Model healthy mourning by being open about your feelings of sadness or grief, and take care of yourself so you can assist your children in your family.
- Take advantage of community resources such as counseling, especially if children and youth do not seem to be coping well with grief and loss.
Within tragedies are moments of learning and appreciation. We hope that through this difficult time, we can all find the opportunity to make the world a better place and be thankful for the ones we love. Our thoughts go out to the family and please let us know if you or your child needs additional support through the grieving process.