Monthly Archives: March 2008

Remembrances

This past Sunday at our church they read the names of all the church members who died in the past year. I was really kind of dreading it and kept going back and forth about if I was going to sing or not. I went to rehearsal and had to step out for a minute during one of the songs. I decided to sit with Luke and Julia for the first service and sing the second service. It ended being more emotional than I was expecting and so I was glad I was with them. Afterwards I didn’t really feel like singing and so Luke and I had brunch.

The church has some sort of thing on Thursday for those who have lost a loved one this year. I have no clue what it is about and Luke and I haven’t discussed going or not. I think we probably won’t but I guess he’ll read this and then we’ll discuss it.

The local hospital is also having a ceremony soon to remember that children who died in the past year. Once again, I am not sure if we will participate or not.

I guess I am just not feeling like doing the grief thing lately and so I am ignoring it. I have not felt like participating the the parent group that meats during Julia’s grief group (though I still participate, with Luke, in the grief group for parents who have lost children). If I went to both there would be some of the same people and it would then be an every week thing to be in a group and that is just too much!

Also, it is just that I remember Nathan every minute of every day and don’t feel like I need official events. Perhaps that is all part of what we chose to do with his remains and not have a gravesite to visit.

I guess I’ll let you know if I attend any of these things and how they go.

Dream

I dreamed about Nathan last night. I seem to do that on rare occasion. One thing always is true about the dreams. No matter what I always know that he is dead in my dream and am trying to figure out how he his there.

In last night’s dream Julia was getting ready for school and then Nathan was standing there, in his John Deere shirt, jeans and John Deere hat and we said to each other that it was a shame he couldn’t go to school too since he seemed to be feeling OK and was ready. We put Julia on the bus and took Nathan to school. Then he was much weaker and so I just cradled him in my arms like a baby and carried him around the school to see all the people there he loved. He was talking and smiling. We decided to go to the school library and we sat there and read books. As we ran into people who were obviously confused because he had died and been cremated. I just said, “we don’t know why or how his body is here and it doesn’t matter”.

After a while we left to go home and I still carried him and he was as if weightless. Then, my dream ended.

He is Risen!

Happy Easter to all.

The Easter Bunny was good to Lauren and Julia. Luke got them ready and took them to church and took this picture. I had to be there at 6:00 am and got home at 1:30 pm. The choir sang 40 songs in total. I am tired but it was awesome music and singing with 170 people is always fun.

Here’s a version of one of the songs we sung.

Leaving you with last year’s Easter Picture

Julia’s Grief Group

The paper has an article today about the grief group Julia attends.

Oh, and why are the parents’ ages worth mentioning? Seeing my age in black and white in the paper is not that appealing.

Care center helps children grieve

Children process death differently than adults, experts say

THE GAZETTE

The room at the end of the hall could be any children’s play area. Stuffed animals and books sit on a bookshelf. Artwork hangs from string tacked up across the ceiling. Toys sit tucked away in bins and corners, and a bold-colored mural covers one of the walls.

But there’s nothing childlike about the sorrows brought here.

Crayon scribbles convey sadness children sometimes can’t articulate. The toys tap into the memories of lost loved ones, or provide welcome distraction from emotions most of us don’t deal with until adulthood.

For nearly three decades, Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care has been comforting the dying and helping their families grieve. Recently, it created the Children’s Grief Counseling Room, where volunteers and staff members help children cope with the death of parents, siblings or other loved ones. Children need the special service because they don’t process the concept of death in the same way that adults do, experts say.

The program began in October after administrators noticed an increasing number of children coming through the hospice system. They received a $25,000 Inasmuch Foundation Grant to remodel and furnish the room and provide training. The program now serves about 35 children. Two sessions are held each week, one for younger children and another for older ones.

Sessions begin with a circle for group interaction. Then, the children are turned loose to play. At the end, they re- convene and are reminded they are not alone in what they’re going through.

On Tuesday evening during a session for young children, Julia Gentry, 6, played with tiny dolls, setting them at a toy dining table beside their dollhouse. Her brother, Nathan, died in July after a four-year fight with cancer. He was 7.

“They were best friends. They did everything together, so I knew she would need support dealing with his death,” said her mother, Susan, 35,

Gentry credits the sessions with helping her daughter to focus on her happy memories of Nathan, not just the sadness of losing him. She’s noticed that Julia seems “more even-keeled.”

Parents say they don’t always know what to tell their children, especially when they’re struggling with their emotions.

Ken Frederick, 31, lost his girlfriend and the mother of his three children, Jackie Richardson, nearly four years ago. She developed cervical cancer while carrying their youngest child, Mariah. Treatment began as soon as Mariah was born, but Richardson died a couple of years later.

Frederick has since remarried but in recent months Mariah, 5, began crying at night and talking about missing her mother.

He hopes Mariah, who attended her second session Tuesday, will benefit from interacting with other children coping with the same sense of loss.

Fran Roberts, manager of bereavement services, said children tend to grieve naturally, while adults generally don’t. If a child cries, a parent will often tell them not to. Or if an adult feels angry, the person may judge that emotion as unacceptable and dismiss it. The children’s room, she said, is a way for kids to cope in whatever way comes to them.

One young boy whose mother died played privately in each session with a toy train, making choo-choo sounds, Roberts said. Eventually, he told a facilitator that each day after day care he would go behind his house with his mother, and she would let him play on the train tracks. The toy train made him feel close to her.

At the end of Tuesday’s session, the children gathered in a circle with their volunteer helpers and lit candles to honor their loved ones. Volunteers and children each shared memories or thoughts of that person.

“I like this candle,” said Mariah, a brown-haired girl with a fondness for wide grins. “My mom passed away . . . and I miss her a lot.”

For Julia, words didn’t come at first. She passed her turn and only spoke when it was time to blow the candles out and go home.

“I liked playing with him a lot,” she said.

St. Baldricks – Amazing!

Nathan’s Network has raised $33,700!!! The shavings will all take place this weekend – so it is not too late to add to the total.

In the comment section of one of Luke’s posts a few people were reminiscing about the time our family attended a St. Baldrick’s event. I thought I would share the photos.



Update

Sorry about the lack of posting here. I returned very late Monday night from Tucson. I had a wonderful time relaxing and just hanging out with my aunt. I did get a little sick while I was there, but it didn’t interfere much with the laid-back plans. The girls and Luke had a good time while I was gone.

I have still been recovering from the sickness and the late night Monday but finally feel better. As soon as I got back I had to jump right back into all the weekly activities. Lauren is sick but finally today seems to be on the mend.

We’ve had a good day today – either Luke or I will probably post about that later. We had some unseasonably warm weather today and took full advantage of it.

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