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Matilda Ledger Can Remember Her Dad Heath

Coping With the Loss of a Parent

While the jarring news of actor Heath Ledger's death shook the world, it left two-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose with one live parent.

Many children experience the loss of a parent so keeping the memory of mom or dad alive is important for the entire family.

Licensed psychotherapist, Sally Sacks, M.Ed says there are nine specific ways you can help your lil one cope. To see her list,


She said:

  1. Don't think that you need to go to a cemetery to express yourself to loved ones. If you teach spiritual development you are aware that the person doesn't live in the cemetery. They live in your heart and mind which are with you everywhere. You want to keep that memory alive by carrying out behaviors of the person.
  2. Create a tangible reminder that you can see everyday. Keep their favorite item in your closet, or favorite picture in your room. Dedicate a sculpture or statue or flower arrangement in your house to them. Plant a tree in your yard for them, or a flower.
  3. Take a balloon and attach letters to them and let it fly free to the universe.
  4. Write to them in a special journal only for them and your private communication to them.
  5. Wear something that they liked to school.
  6. Order their favorite meal, or make their favorite cake on their birthday. You can even take a piece of cake and bottle of wine to the cemetery or their favorite place on their birthday. If you feel sad, let yourself be sad.
  7. Always talk to children about their deceased loved one, reminding them of how they are like that parent or have such good qualities like them. If they are sad, disconnected or don't answer, that's ok; keep doing it.
  8. Get help with yourself for the loss, and dealing with it if you are having trouble helping your children. If you don't get help for yourself you will not be able to help your children with the things that they need to do to keep their loved one's spirit alive.
  9. Teach children to live consciously, day by day in the moment. Life is short and we don't want to miss connecting to anyone that we love, dead or alive.


Join The Conversation
d_ford d_ford 9 years
These tips are great. My cousin was 13 days old when his mum passed away and my aunt has kept her memory alive and at the tender age of 2 and a half, he knows exactly who is mother is. He has a picture in his room and when you point to it, he'll tell you exactly who she is. It's heart breaking to know that he will never know her. My dad passed away in April, and at 24 I am so grateful for the time I had with him. It hurts me so much to know what he only had 6 days of his life with her. I wish he could have known her long enough to know what a beautiful woman she was and I wish, although I believe she can, she could see what a bright, beautiful and loving child he is. I have so much empathy and sympathy for Michelle and the road she has laid before her. It's not easy, but I believe she will do the best to make sure that Matilda knows who her father is and how much he loved her.
controlledspin controlledspin 9 years
Oh, that picture alone is heartbreaking.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
I lost my dad when I was 12 and it was so hard for me, I can't imagine having lost him at 2 or 3, my heart goes out to Matilda.
buch1979 buch1979 9 years
My husband was four and his brother two when they lost their father, my syblings were 13,11, and a week away from 4 when we lost their mother. I'm incredibly greatful to my husbands extended family for keeping his Dad real to him for the past 26 years. 12 years later I know my step mother is incredibly proud of all four of her children, and I pray daily that my son will never have to go experience the losses his father and I have.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
These are fantastic tips! Ones I hope I never have to use. :(
snapsh0t snapsh0t 9 years
I can't imagine losing a parent so young. I hope she makes it through this alright - I'm sure Michelle is a wonderful mother and will do everything in her power to make sure Matilda will always know just who her father was.
febe febe 9 years
happened to me too! i lost my father at the age of 2. my mother always complains that i never mention my father or talk about him, but that doesn't mean i don't think about him.
Naidean7 Naidean7 9 years
i cried too :( so sad she has to live with out her daddy. Lots of people have arguments with their parents in their teen / early adult years... we really dont know how much we take for granted :(
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
This made me cry, just thinking about little Matilda doing these things for her daddy. :cry:
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
Thanks for posting this Lil. These are such wonderful tips.
toenails15 toenails15 9 years
I lost my father when I was 2 also. Its very hard, but it is something that a little girl can live with. I hope her mother keeps his memory alive even though the two of them were not together at the time of his passing. God bless that little girl.
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