As kids, we all experience the feeling of not fitting in. But what about a kid in grief, who has lost a sibling or parent, in a pool of kids who have no idea what that means in life? Imagine how tiring it must be to live at that level of “not fitting in”. As adults in grief, there is often comfort in being with those who are experiencing a similar grief. This comfort allows grievers to set down the load of explaining and excusing and gives way to a new type of freedom in their grief…”ahhhh, they get it”.
The Power of Shared Experience
Last year, I started running a local kids grief camp. Some kids showed up with their adult, who was already apologizing because they “were sure he/she was not going to enjoy or participate in Camp, but they had to do something…”. By noon on the first day, I witnessed the shouts of joy and offloading of the story about being different as they exchanged phone numbers, had dance parties, and shared tender and vulnerable stories about their loved ones and grief.
Creating Connection Through Shared Storytelling
In one exercise, we sat in a circle with a ball of yarn. Each kiddo had the chance to share any part of their story. As they shared, they would hang on to the part of yarn they had and continue to toss the ball from kid to kid. In the end, we had a giant dreamcatcher, and we were all a part of it. We tugged on the yarn in our hands and when I asked what they noticed, I heard a round of “we’re all connected”. As we held the yarn and they tugged and laughed, I asked them to feel this connection deeply. Grief can be lonely and isolating, and we must remember the connection we know lives within us. We reminded each other that this connection, through grief and yarn, would live in our hearts forever.
Finding Joy in Grief
Grief can be so overwhelming that the mind forgets about all other emotions. It might seem that we only have sadness, angst, and anxiety left behind after the loss of a loved one. Honing in on and remembering deep moments of joy or connection can help our minds remember there is still more to us than we think. Even if these moments are as fleeting as a dreamcatcher with a bunch of kids, it is a profound reminder what is within us.
Grief is a shared experience that can connect people in unexpected ways. Through shared storytelling, we can create a sense of connection that reminds us of the love and joy that still exists in our lives, even amidst the pain of loss. Grief camps for kids offer a space for them to connect with others who are going through similar experiences, providing them with a much-needed sense of belonging and support.
Camp Courage 2023
is Open for Pre-Registration
Camp Courage is a 3-Day Summer Camp for children and teens who have experienced the loss of a loved one.
- Grief can make people feel like they don’t fit in, especially children who have lost a loved one.
- Being around others who understand grief can be comforting and help grievers feel less isolated.
- The author started a kids’ grief camp and saw the magic of connection and sharing stories of loss and love.
- An exercise with a ball of yarn showed the kids that they are all connected through grief.
- Remembering moments of joy and connection can help grievers see that there is still more to them than just sadness and grief.
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