Children

Free Family Event Celebrating Life, Death and Meaningful Connections

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Grief and Loss impacts Everyone.

Am honoured to co-host and co-facilitate this free public event. In support of Children's Grief Awareness Day and National Bereavement Day, "The 100% Certainty Project – Death: Something to Talk About" is hosting a FREE public event for parents and children at the Hamilton Public Library. Please join us for:

- a reading of the children’s book The Funeral by Matt James, award-winning Author

- a creative family activity exploring grief, loss and meaningful connections

- grief and bereavement resources from Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association & Canadian Virtual Hospice

CBC Books on The Funeral: "This sensitive and life-affirming story will lead young readers to ask their own questions about life, death and how we remember those who have gone before us"

Please note, this is not a counselling session or grief support group.

While this is a free event, registration is REQUIRED via:  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/free-public-event-for-parents-and-children-on-grief-and-bereavement-tickets-50531981517

A free Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth

Am truly honoured to be a partner agency with the Children and Youth Grief Network.

Absolutely thrilled to announce our new resource is now available for FREE to any supporter caring for grieving children and youth. As grief and loss does not discriminate and affects children and teens everywhere, this resource is appropriate for anyone working with, or caring for, children and teens.

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This invaluable resource outlines creative activities, tools and resources while providing essential information about how to support children and teens throughout the grieving process.

If you would like to receive a pdf. of "A Handbook for Supporters. Extending Compassion & Care to Grieving Youth", please contact the Children and Youth Grief Network via info@childrenandyouthgriefnetwork.com

FREE resources for families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss

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Am honoured to have been part of the development team for the latest resource, Kids Grief, which was just launched on the first National Bereavement Day in Canada. I believe it is important to share these valuable resources for individuals and families facing illness, uncertainty, grief and loss. This information is also helpful for any healthcare professional or volunteer wanting more information and resources when providing support in acute care, primary care or within a community setting.

The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members, health care providers, researchers and educators. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Kids Grief (0-18 yrs.) http://kidsgrief.ca/

Talking with Kids and Teens about Dying and Death. What do I tell the kids? How do I support them? A free online resource to provide guidance to parents on how to support children who are grieving the dying or death of someone in their life. It equips parents with the words and confidence to help their children grieve losses in healthy ways. (Source: Canadian Virtual Hospice)

Ontario Children's Grief Awareness Family Days. Free public events

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Am honoured to be a new partner agency with the Children and Youth Grief Network (CYGN). The CYGN is a collaborative of agencies and organizations that work to support grieving families of all ages.

The CYGN recognizes that "the support received by a grieving child or youth can significantly influence his/her wellbeing. As a result we aim to connect individuals and organizations who provide services and resources that benefit children and youth who are grieving a death."

As the CYGN Mission is "to advocate for educational opportunities and support services that will benefit children and youth who are grieving the dying or the death of someone they care about", in support of National Bereavement Day, the CYGN is offering 2 free community events to support grieving families.

These events are intended for parents/caregivers and their children/teens (under 18 yrs of age) who have experienced the death of a parent/caregiver, child/sibling.

This event is offered for the whole family. Children will participate in facilitated creative activities with trained grief experts, while parents/caregivers will attend a panel presentation and discussions to explore coping strategies and grief support featuring grief professionals and other bereaved families. 

Come explore grief and bereavement coping strategies specifically for families with children and teens. Connect with peers and learn more about the resources available in your community while enjoying the support of caring professionals and other families who share the grief experience.

Snacks, local grief and bereavement resources and gift bag included. 

Reserve your FREE Ontario Children's Grief Awareness Family Day seats via Eventbrite.

2 Dates and 2 Locations!

November 4th @ Wellspring Birmingham Gilgan House (Oakville) https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ontario-childrens-grief-awareness-family-day-oakville-location-tickets-38670386166

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Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children

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"There is a cultural narrative that tells us that bad things don’t happen to good people. As a result, we spend a lot of time protecting kids from natural life events, like death."

Source: Joe Primo on Supporting Grieving Children. Option B

 

10 Things My Chronic Illness Taught My Children

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"All three of us work to maintain balance — knowing when we need to flex and when we need to release, when to put pain first and when to let it fade into the moment."

Source: 10 Things My Chronic Illness Taught My Children

Parenting Through Illness & Grief

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"This one page handout provides an overview of the findings from a research study of parent caregivers. The study was conducted as a collaboration between Dr. Jay Children`s Grief Centre and the Nanny Angel Network" 

Source: Parenting Through Illness & Grief. Canadian Virtual Hospice

Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot'

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" 'Virtually all children will go through it — but that doesn't mean it's a normalizing experience,' says Dr. David Schonfeld, an expert on student grief and a driving force behind the new website. 'Even though it's common, it warrants our attention.' "

Source: Grief In The Classroom: 'Saying Nothing Says A Lot'

Death: A Part of Life. A 5-Part Mini Series (podcast)

Am honoured to have been a guest panelist on the final instalment of Death: A Part of Life - Part 5: The Grieving Process.

This informative 5-Part radio series with the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice aired on CHML 900. Each week panelists including caregivers and healthcare professionals convened to open up a conversation about dying, death, grief and loss. The series explores issues such as: coping with the diagnosis of a serious illness; demystifying hospice palliative care; exploring available supports and services; advance care planning; the dying process and grieving which ultimately impacts us all.

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The links to the podcasts of Death: A Part of Life are listed below:

 Death, A Part Of Life - Part 1: Palliative Care

It’s a fact of life that at one point we all will die. But is it all as simple as that? Bill Kelly and the Bob Kemp hospice will be discussing grief, relief and the acceptance of passing away. On today’s show we discuss what happens when you’re told you don’t have much time left, and whether healthcare is asking too much of caregivers, and whether people are prepared for palliative care.

Death, A Part Of Life - Part 2: Changes To Palliative Care.

For our second show, we will discuss what the palliative care system is now, how it works and what changes need to be made. What does one of our local MPPs hear from his constituents about healthcare and in particular, palliative care? How would changes affect patients? Does fear have a hold on how we make our decisions once we’re diagnosed as palliative? An example of this is whether to choose palliative care or medically assisted death.

Death, A Part Of Life - Part 3: Religion and Palliative Care.

We continue our series this week with two topics. The first one will be discussing the experience of death. Everyone treats death in our world differently. But is it strictly a medical experience or is it a spiritual one? In our second half, we will talk about access to palliative care services in various sectors of our society. How do we help the vulnerable and the community obtain access to proper palliative care?

Death: A Part of Life - Part 4: Bucket lists and preparation.

Life should be celebrated at all stages, whether it be infancy, adulthood and as life comes to a close. So how can we make the most out of life? How can those who are in palliative care achieve their “bucket list” dreams before they pass, and how does it apply when it comes to their own personal circumstances? How do we define a “bucket list”? How wise is it to be prepared for eventual health issues? How should we plan for advanced care and how does it affect the family? How do we navigate through the difficult decisions and pain to provide care for loved ones who are palliative?

Death: A Part of Life - Part 5: The grieving process.

The final instalment in our series sees us discussing grief and how this isn’t just an event that happens in life but a process that families have to go through. How do families grieve the loss of a loved one? How can we support one another and how does grief affect children?

Source: Global News. AM 900 CHML

Camp Erin: Where Children and Teens Learn to Grieve and Heal

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Am honoured to volunteer with Camp Erin. It is indeed a remarkable community and one that nurtures capacity in children and youth to grieve the death of a loved one.

"Children and teens ages 6-17 attend a transformational weekend camp that combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support, free of charge for all families. Led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for youth to increase levels of hope, enhance self-esteem, and especially to learn that they are not alone.

Camp Erin is offered in every Major League Baseball city as well as additional locations across the U.S. and Canada. The Moyer Foundation partners with hospices and bereavement organizations to bring hope and healing to thousands of grieving children and teens each year.

Camp Erin allows youth to:

  • Tell their story in a safe environment
  • Process grief in healthy ways
  • Meet friends facing similar circumstances
  • Learn they are not alone
  • Build a tool-box of coping skills
  • Honor and memorialize loved ones
  • Have fun!"

Source: Camp Erin. The Moyer Foundation 

For information on Camp Erin locations in Ontario, please visit: Camp Erin Hamilton; Camp Erin Toronto; Camp Erin Eastern Ontario; Camp Erin Montreal

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Camp Erin offers a weekend for kids coping with grief and loss

"We strongly believe that the Camp Erin experience is life-changing. Family members and caregivers experiencing their own grief, while simultaneously helping their child to grieve, are often overwhelmed and feel helpless. Grief left unchecked can lead to depression, behavioural issues, suicide and substance abuse.

Much of what is addressed at camp is the isolation kids feel around their grief; it is a poignant experience for the campers to have the chance to go away for three days, (oftentimes, these kids have never been up north) with other people their own age, forming a bond over their loss. Camp Erin is a safe place for young people to identify with other kids who are feeling the same emotions, including anger, worry, guilt and often, a "Why me?" outlook.

When kids come back from camp, at ease and with the confidence to talk about their grief, it gets passed along to their parents."

Full article: Camp Erin offers a weekend for kids coping with loss

How To Support A Young Person Through Grief

“This early interaction with death is overwhelming, but a pivotal point for learning. This grief acts as a blueprint for not just how these young people process death, but their approach to the many challenges they will face in life.

If you are struggling to help a teenager with their grief, know that your concern is evidence of your care. There is nothing that can make this not awful, so don't make your aim to stop the tears, but rather to support them in what they need. Respecting their needs shows them that you believe in their ability to know what's best for themselves. You're doing good.”

Camp Erin Hamilton. Fun #Camp for #Children and #Youth with #Grief #Support and #Education @moyerfoundation

“Camp Erin Hamilton is an annual three-day camp experience offered at no charge and facilitated by professional staff and trained volunteers of the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice and Bereaved Families of Ontario - Hamilton/ Burlington. The camp is for children ages 6 to 17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Camp Erin Hamilton combines a traditional, high-energy, fun camp with grief support and education.”

Wonderful #Books that #Help #Children #Grieve and Make Sense of #Death @brainpickings #hpm

“From Japanese pop-up magic to Scandinavian storytelling to Maurice Sendak, a gentle primer on the messiness of mourning and the many faces and phases of grief.”

On #Parenting: There is no 'normal' when it comes to #kids and #grief. And that’s okay

"We stopped talking. I rocked back and forth on her bed, holding her close, reverting to the keening motion every human leans into when things get that bad. It was the same way I held my husband in August and again in September, and the same way he reached for me in November, the wordless soothing rhythm of a parent and child.

Our guests would be okay downstairs. We sat together in the dark. And I let her cry, and cry, and cry. Broken open, edges jagged, ready to grieve".

Cry, Heart, But Never Break: A Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on #Loss and #Life. @brainpickings

"Now comes a fine addition to the most intelligent and imaginative children’s books about making sense of death — the crowning jewel of them all, even, and not only because it bears what might be the most beautiful children’s book title ever conceived: Cry, Heart, But Never Break (public library) by beloved Danish children’s book author Glenn Ringtved and illustrator Charlotte Pardi, translated into English by Robert Moulthrop.

Although Ringtved is celebrated for his humorous and mischievous stories, this contemplative tale sprang from the depths of his own experience — when his mother was dying and he struggled to explain what was happening to his young children, she offered some words of comfort: “Cry, Heart, but never break.” It was the grandmother’s way of assuring the children that the profound sadness of loss is to be allowed rather than resisted, then folded into the wholeness of life, which continues to unfold". 

The importance of #honest #communication: Talking with #children about #death. #hpm

"Drawing from over 30 years of stories and wisdom from grieving children, teens, and adults, the Dear Dougy Podcast is opening up the conversation about dying, death, and bereavement. As humans, we all experience loss during our lives, but often find ourselves lost and unsure when it comes to navigating the grief that follows. Whether you’re grieving a death, or wanting to support someone who is, the Dear Dougy Podcast can help explore your questions about grief".

A Loud Voice: Dear Dead Mother. Conversations about #life, #love, and #loss with the mother I've never known. #Grief #Bereavement

"Silence is not always self-imposed.  Sometimes those of us who want to grieve out loud feel immense pressure to stay quiet and move on.  This pressure can be communicated to us in so many ways – when people look away, when words are whispered across quiet rooms, when we are explicitly told not to dwell on negative things.  When the people we love most and want to protect seem to fall apart when we talk about the dead".

Against #Grieving in Silence. ~Rachel Stephenson

"When loss enters our lives, understanding how to confront it can be difficult. Rachel Stephenson learned a valuable lesson after a difficult loss and shares her wisdom on what it means to grieve meaningfully.

Rachel is an educator, administrator, and writer. For the past 7 years, she has worked for The City University of New York (CUNY) designing and implementing innovative, high-performing programs focused on civic engagement, workforce development, and youth development for a range of inspiring CUNY students. Launching the CUNY Service Corps in 2013 is one of her proudest professional accomplishments. Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community".

When a child is dying, the hardest talk is worth having. #PedPC

"Conversations about the end of life are hard for most people. But they can be especially sensitive for parents guiding children through terminal illnesses. They often struggle to discuss death because they don’t want to abandon hope; children, too, can be reluctant to broach the subject.

But pediatric specialists say the failure to discuss death — with children who are old enough to understand the concept and who wish to have the conversation — can make it harder for all involved.

A conversation could help children who are brooding silently suffer less as they approach death. It would also ensure parents know more about children’s final wishes".