How they Grieve
Thank to Liz Hardaway from the Port Charlotte Sun for sharing the story of Valerie’s House new location to support grieving children in Charlotte County. With 25 Charlotte County children and 17 caregivers already in the program, and more signing up every day, we are off to a great start.
(Excerpt from the Charlotte Sun, September 2, 2019)
It’s wasn’t just a jar of sand.
Kids stood holding empty mason jars last week. Some grabbed red sand if they were present when a loved one died, purple if they felt numb when their loved one died, and green if they felt guilty.
There were 11 colors, each representing a different part of grief a child might experience. Though each story of loss is unique and personal, the kids found peers who had similar experiences and pain without having to say a word.
This is one of the many activities support groups with Valerie’s House conduct to help children process their grief for the death of a loved one. The Fort Myers-based organization met in their Punta Gorda location for the first time Monday evening, using space provided by the First United Methodist Church.
When someone dies, people don’t often want to talk about it because it’s uncomfortable.
“After my mom died, a lot of people wanted to forget her,” said the organization’s founder Angela Melvin. “Children need to know who the person was that died and memories need to be kept alive.”
The article also include some advice for finding the right words to say to someone whose loved one just died:
Alternatives to saying "I'm Sorry"
Angela Melvin, the founder of Valerie's House, recommends assuring the person they're not alone and asking more about the person who died so they can share their memories.
"I'm so sad to hear this."
"I'm so sorry you have to go through this."
"That totally sucks."
Repeating what the person tells you. It gives them an opportunity to say more and direct the conversation.
Source: Angela Melvin; The Dougy Center
ABOUT VALERIE’S HOUSE
As the first and only grief support program focused solely on helping children, Valerie’s House provides a safe, comfortable place for children to bond, grieve and heal together following the death of an immediate family member. Valerie’s House serves children and families in Fort Myers, Naples and Punta Gorda. A nonprofit organization, Valerie’s House is a United Way partner agency that is also supported through generous donations from the community. To learn more, enroll in programs, volunteer or donate, visit www.valerieshouseswfl.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Valerie’s House grief support programs in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties, please call 239-204-5804.