Thursday, November 15th, was National Children’s Grief Awareness Day! We were proud to wear blue to show our support and to connect with the community to raise awareness of the unique needs of grieving children and teens. Leading up to the event, we asked our TCR community to share their thoughts on the importance of grief awareness and support. Their beautiful handwritten reflections were written on blue hearts. Once completed, every two hearts were joined together as a butterfly, symbolizing the integration of grief and awareness and the changes that occur as we support each other with care and understanding. Ultimately, all of the messages we received were gathered and assembled by our incredible interns into one big, beautiful display. Here in Arlington, TCR program staff and interns hosted activities at the Ottoson Middle School and the new Gibbs School. We also hosted activities at John Glenn Middle School in Bedford, Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chelsea, Lexington High School, and Prospect Hill Academy Charter Middle and High School. At the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club in Roxbury, TCR partnered with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to sponsor the activity. As part of these activities, children and teens were invited to honor their grief by placing a blue dot on a large piece of artwork in order to represent a person in their life who died. They were also invited to share their memories and reflections on blue hearts or strips of ribbon. The response was overwhelming! What a meaningful week we had! Thank you to all who participated. You continue to help us envision a world where death and dying are more fully integrated into our lives, which leads to greater compassion, [...]
Our Parents Council, a group of "alumni" parents and other caring parents come together for workshops on a variety of topics. The following information was compiled from their recent workshop. Words That Don't Help We have all been hurt by people saying or doing the wrong things in response to the tragic loss of a loved one. It often times makes things more difficult and can cause more pain and anger. Some common examples are: “You are the man of the house now and you need to take care of your mother” “How are you?” “Your loved one is at peace now.” “God gives you what you can handle.” “I know exactly how you feel.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “They are in a better place.” “You need to be strong for the kids.” We all agreed that people in general don’t know what to say, so often times they say the wrong things and these comments can be very hurtful. There are words that can heal and there are words that hurt. People are not trying to be malicious but they are uncomfortable around you and often times say the wrong things. Words That Help There are many things that can be said that will help and here is a list of them. “I don’t know what to say” “I am thinking about you” “I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers” “I am here for you” “I don’t know how you feel but I am here to help in any way I can”. Sometimes a hug or a gesture of kindness is better than saying anything. Don’t wait for the person to ask for help. Do something that you think will help [...]
In her most recent article on the Psychology Today website, our board member and child bereavement expert, Phyllis Silverman writes that people instinctively want to protect children when someone has died. In her thoughtful piece, she proposes that a better approach is to guide children through these experiences in ways that respect their age. Phyllis's article is here. Being honest with children is difficult, and an important part of our work at The Children's Room is to work with adults to help them with the language, tools and strategies that they need in their day-to-day dealings with all children. Teachers, counselors, coaches and nurses have all found our workshops and presentations to be helpful in developing these skills.