Sitting in group with a 10-year- old boy that attended one of our school groups we noticed he would always silently participate in the activities and would always question why we wanted him to tell us who died every week as we did our check in. After a short explanation about why this was so incredibly important in his grief journey, he would name off about 12 significant deaths in his life. As we moved into the group on anger, his emotions began to overwhelm him as he began to release this extreme anger he felt towards all the death and loss that he had experienced in his young life. By the end of the activity, this young man smiled for the first time ever in grief group. His emotions exhausted and overwhelmed him, but he shared “Wow that felt good.”
During the last group sessions, this young man was quick to share and easily opened up appearing to be a different child. When asked during the last group session what he had learned in group, he answered, “I learned that I feel better when I talk about my deaths and grief and I learned that somebody really does care about me and how I feel.”
A 12-year- old boy attended an SKP group after his father had died suddenly a few months earlier. At his first session, when he went to tell the group why he was attending, he could barely speak through the tears and pain.
A boy sitting next to him, reached over to him, and patting him on his back, told him that it was alright to cry, and that he understood, as his father had also died, only many years in the past. He assured him that he was not alone and that it would get better. He participated actively in the activities, and even attended Camp Erin in the spring. His mother told his facilitator, when they met at Camp Erin, that our program had not only helped her son in “immeasurable ways”, but had helped the entire family, as after each session, he would bring the activities home and they would discuss them as a family, opening the way for the entire family to talk together and heal together.
A 12-year- old girl first attended an SKP group at a local Middle School. Her grandmother had died several years earlier, but was the only real stable person in this young ladies life. She participated appropriately, but seemed stuck in her grief. A few years later, this girl not yet 15 years old walked into another group with the same facilitator at an alternative school. When this young lady walked into group on the first session, she immediately recognized the facilitator, and announced to the rest of the group “This group is going to be amazing, and if you take it seriously, it will change you! It has helped me so much, and I’m so lucky to get to do it again!” It turns out that her mom had just recently died from a drug overdose.
During a Camp Erin interview, a mother shared that she had yet to share with her child how the child’s father had died before this child was even born. Family life was very conflicting as this mother continued to withhold information, feeling as thought she was protecting her daughter from all the scary things that went along with this death. During Camp, this little girl shared thoughts and concerns that things just didn't make sense surrounding her father’s death and she had so many questions and anxieties surrounding the death. At Camp closing, this mother was again encouraged to share the truth about the death and mom finally concluded that this might be the right time. After many tears and accusations of being lied to, both mom and daughter show up for SKP groups sharing immense relief and that an incredible weight had been lifted now that the truth had been revealed.