The Forget Me Not Grief program of Hospice
of Anchorage is a program for kids dealing with death of a close
friend or relative. The Forget Me Not program was started
last April. The program meets twice monthly on the 2nd and
4th Thursdays, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, September through May.
Kids participate in peer support groups, with trained adult facilitators.
The facilitators are from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
A variety of activities are used in the peer groups, for example,
discussion, play, and art projects. The Forget Me Not program
is modeled on the Dougy Center (http://www.dougy.org)
which has been in operation in Portland, Oregon since 1982 to
support grieving children and adolescents.
Grief is normal, natural, and necessary. Everyone grieves in their own way. The process is not necessarily an orderly process. One doesn't have to do all their grieving at once. Kids often grieve in little Grief does not end; it comes out unexpectedly at times. Children experience grief, just as older people do. "Any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve."
When a person is dying, tell children the truth, don't keep it a secret. Tell them the person is very, very, very sick- so they will understand the person is ksicker than the usual cold kids get. Avoid using clichés like "going to sleep" and "passed." Avoid euphemisms like "Be strong for your mom." Kids may grieve differently than older people. They may act hyperactive rather than sad. Tell them the truth-don't say "you are too young to understand." The program includes a group for parents and caregivers. When parents do better, the kids do better.
A copy of the program brochure and a handout is attached as a .pdf document that should open with Acrobat Reader. Also attached is an interesting paper, Sahler O. The child and death. Pediatrics in Review, Oct 2000; 21:350-353.
If you are not able to download this brochure call Hospice of Anchorage at 561-5322 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about their program.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
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