Moving stories about Grief and those left behind
Grief Through the Eyes of Children at Camp Jonathan
By: Author Unknown
Jonathan was a six-year old boy who died in 1988. Social worker Mary Lee Carroll, LCSW, served as his hospice volunteer. Her work with him and his spirit inspired Ms. Carroll to develop a pediatric bereavement program for a local hospice in Connecticut. In 1994, the organization received a grant from the Junior League of Waterbury, Connecticut, to sponsor Camp Jonathan. In 1999, Camp Jonathan was incorporated and now stands alone, and serves the needs of the bereaved in the Watertown area of Connecticut.
Every summer, Camp Jonathan sponsors a week-long summer day camp for bereaved children who have suffered the death of a significant person in their lives. The comments below on the nature ofgrief were made by children who attended a one-week support program in July 2005.
When A New Born Baby Dies
By: Author Unknown
When my son Gabriel was stillborn at 21 weeks we were blindsided. I had no idea that in this age of modern medicine and in a country as prosperous as the United States that babies still died. I thought it was something that only happened in third world counties, or maybe back in the pioneer days. And yet, it does happen. When a baby dies it is hard on the entire family — but I can imagine it is uniquely hard for a grandparent. Not only are you, yourself grieving the loss of your grandbaby, but your own child is hurting as well. What do you do? What CAN you do?
Often people do nothing. It used to be that when a baby died (either before or shortly after birth), the mother was not allowed to hold or see her child. She was told to forget and to try again as soon as possible. Things have changed. It has been discovered that it is better for the healing process if the mom is able to see her baby if possible; for the parents to hold and dress and photograph and name their child. If the baby was lost earlier in the pregnancy the parents may not be able to do even this. But the moment a mom finds out she is expecting she starts making plans for, and loving, her child. A loss at any stage is devastating. To be told to forget and move on can be hurtful; no matter how well intentioned the advice is.
There are support groups to help a family facing this trial. But even though this outside help is important, I often hear that families do not feel supported by those closest to them: their own family members. Part of this is due to differences in how our generations have been told to grieve. Part of it is probably due to the fact that family members are grieving themselves. And part of it, maybe, is that it is just too sad. Too sad to think about and too sad to talk about and certainly too sad to make a particular point to remember. And yet, that is often exactly what grieving parents need, people to remember.
You need to do what is best for you while grieving your grandchild. Nobody grieves the same and there is no straight path for healing from this loss. But it is also important to reach out to your child.