I had the opportunity to visit the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children
to meet with Joan Kennedy, the Program Director. I interviewed her for my Roger’s TV series and like to meet my guests first. The centre was founded by Rowley Ramey after his two beautiful young daughters, Samantha and Jessica, were killed in a car accident.
He realized there were no resources for the grieving children affected by this tragedy.
It is amazing that Rowley had the courage to make something so good happen
after such a devastating loss.
I was in awe from the moment I walked into the centre. You could feel the love and support in this beautiful place. The walls downstairs are strewn with pictures of those who have died, hung by those who grieve and miss them. Many walls are covered with pictures and sayings that children painted, such as “Miss you Mom”, “R.I.P. Dad.” All expressions of love and grief. It was heartwarming and heart wrenching, all at the same time.
Season’s Centre for Grieving Children provides a safe and supportive environment for
children and adults to grieve and heal, with various programs and peer support.
An important message that Joan shared with me;
Children are often “the forgotten grievers". We must realize that they need to grieve
and often act out as they grieve physically. They often don’t have the words for the
feelings they are experiencing, so they need physical outlets.
The centre provides that with big stuffed animals, punching bags, games and a room to toss paint everywhere. Children are free to express themselves in a safe, non- judgmental environment. Children grieve many things throughout their lives; friends moving, difficulty in school, health issues and yes, people they love may die.
As compassionate communities, neighbours and schools, we need to learn and understand how children grieve, how unique each individual is and to remember that the child who is angry, acting out or isolating themselves, may just be grieving.
We need to learn how to “Just Show Up” for that child.
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.