Lisa attends Willow House support groups with her 4 year-old son, Beau and 8 year-old daughter, Julia. They are grieving the death of their daddy and husband, Bob, who was just 37 years old when he died from brain cancer a year and a half ago...
Lisa recently shared this story about Julia:
"Julia had a friend over to play. We have the list of “Things Daddy Used to Say” on the fridge. Julia started reading the little quotes to her friend who had asked about it. Great discussion ensued. "Why did he say that? What's that about? What does that mean?" Julia answered with very matter of fact replies about each and every memory with her playmate.
Then more questions... "Where did you make that?" Julia replied, "Oh, at Willow House. The place your mom donated to. Remember? It's really a good thing for us and other people too." Then Julia goes on to say, "Some kids at Willow House have lost a brother or sister. So, now they are the oldest in their family. Other kids’ moms died, like our daddy died."
Julia’s girlfriend is asking good questions the whole time. And then…"Wait. Kids die too?" Julia frankly replies, "Yep. They get sick or hurt or something happens that makes their body stop working.""
This is just one beautiful example of how Willow House supports grieving children and families. In a safe, comforting space, they express feelings. Yes, even feeling sad or mad. They connect with other children and parents, who are experiencing grief and profound loss because of the death of their beloved Mom, Dad and spouse or brother, sister and child.
Creating a list of “Things Daddy Used to Say” is just one simple activity at Willow House, that allows children to connect with their normal, every-day, memories of their loved one. Talking about what Daddy said and why, brings comfort and opportunities for sharing, even with friends and family outside of group and recognizing that…
It’s okay to talk about your loved one who has died, share funny stories and how you miss them
They are not alone. Willow House children often say with relief, "I am not the only one whose Daddy died."
Grieving, sadness, even tummy aches, can happen when someone you love has died. It is normal.
Of course, we wish that no child or family should have to experience such life-changing loss and profound grief. But, there are all too many young families that do and for them, there is Willow House… A shelter in the dark storm of grief, a comforting hug and a sense of relief that others understand and care. Families feel less isolated knowing, "we are not alone." Connecting and sharing, building relationships and new memories, Willow House provides this for grieving families.
Lisa said it best when she finished sharing this story:
"Oh my gosh! I am in tears! She is so expressive and knows how to handle this stuff on her own.
Thank God for Willow House - keeping things open for us all the time."
Can you imagine making a list of the things your loved one, who has died, used to say? And putting it on the fridge for everyone to see and ask about? Can you imagine having a “frank” conversation about your loved one, like these two 8 year-old children?
Can you now imagine how invaluable Willow House support is to Lisa and Julia and Beau and all the grieving families who attend Willow House?
Now, can you imagine not having a safe haven like Willow House to support families like Lisa’s and so many others? We can’t either!