WinterSpring’s Children’s Program at Bellview School has been a wonderful experience for these kids. Thanks to Sherry Nurre, our trained volunteer, for spearheading an additional program in Ashland. We also have our ongoing program in Medford. Call our office for more information about the programs coming up during the next school year: 541-552-0620.
The Ashland Daily Tidings published an essay written by our executive director on the importance of staff in nonprofits. Learn more about what we do every day by reading this essay.
Suicide Survivor Support Group — eight weeks, starting April 2, 6:00-7:30pm at a Medford location. If you have lost someone you love to suicide, coping without support can be very difficult. Please join our facilitators, Meg Mocabee and Nadine Mayer, and others who have also suffered this tragic loss. Call our office to get more information: 541-552-0620
Grief and loss are such a natural part of life. And yet, people don’t know how to be with it in healthy ways. I love this article from the New York Times that talks about including children in the mourning process and why. At WinterSpring, we advocate for talking with kids about their grief and we have support groups available to help.
Click here for this NYT article.
This article from an organization called “Hello Grief” lays out some practical tips for someone who has just lost their spouse. Click here to access this great resource.
As I look at Denise Kester’s monotype print “Out of chaos comes the dance of balance,” I find my head and heart align. Grief is indeed one place where I have found chaos and confusion. But it has also become my surest path to personal growth and enlightenment.
Something that most of us seem to discover, sooner or later in life, is that we are not invincible, not really “in control” as we might like to be, but that we can, and usually do, find a way through the whirlpool of life. We are children of many losses; but we are also survivors. Sometimes we need a little help from others to find our way – sometimes a lot of help. It is a major step to discover that we are not alone; there are plenty of others who have traveled similar roads and who are willing to share their stories.
The best discovery of all is that of our own inner spaces where our worst fears lurk, but where strength, renewal and life reside as well. Loss will take us to both, if we are open – and will help heal us and make us whole, or “balanced,” to use Kester’s term.
Writing about the death of her daughter, Isabel Allende says:
“My life is one of contrasts; I have learned to see both sides of the coin. At moments of greatest success, I do not lose sight of the pain awaiting me down the road, and when I am sunk in despair, I wait for the sun I know will rise farther along.” (Paula, p. 313)
“I am a raft without a rudder, adrift on a sea of pain. During these long months I have been peeling away like an onion, layer after layer, changing; I am not the same woman, my daughter has given me the opportunity to look inside myself and discover interior spaces – empty, dark, strangely peaceful – I had never explored before. These are holy places, and to reach them I must travel a narrow road blocked with many obstacles, vanquish the beasts of imagination that jump out in my path. When terror paralyzes me, I close my eyes and give myself to it with the sensation of sinking into storm-tossed waters. For a few instants that are true eternity, I think I am dying, but little by little I comprehend that, despite everything, I am still alive because in the ferocious whirlpool there is a merciful shaft through which I can breathe. Unresisting, I let myself be dragged down, and gradually the fear recedes.” (Paula, p. 272)
WinterSpring allows me to see the beauty, empathy and precious resiliency of children travelling their grief path. The children become a family of survivors that are connected through their losses. And yet, WinterSpring’s Children’s Group is joyful, sometimes wild, and often contemplative and deeper than any adult could devise. (May 2011)
Each day that I learn more about this place I get to work, I am amazed that the wonderful volunteers are moved to support children, teens, and adults through their grief process. When adults can make a difference in a child’s life, the world is truly a better place.
“People cope with the loss of a loved one in many different ways. For some, the experience may lead to personal growth, even though it is a difficult and trying time. There is no right or wrong way to cope with the passing of a loved one.”
I like this article on grief and bereavement. Grief work, the path that a mourner walks, is thoughtfully discussed. Did you ever wonder what the difference is between grief, bereavement and mourning? This article explains the differences along with information on some special types such as anticipatory and complicated grief. Although this article is from the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, much of the information applies to grief in general.