How old were you when you had a pet or loved one die? Many folks can remember their first significant loss — even the goldfish from Grange Fair that may have only lasted a few months. Children grieve.
Alan Wolfelt, an expert on grief says: “If you’re old enough to love, you’re old enough to mourn.” Who hasn’t met a loving 3-year-old? Grieving children often feel set apart, different from their peers, alone and misunderstood. Every school and every community has children who have experienced some type of loss.
Children’s Grief Awareness Day began right here in Pennsylvania in 2008. Students wanted to bring attention to what their grieving classmates were coping with, for the most part, in silence. The initiative grew out of an ongoing partnership of the Highmark Caring Place with hundreds of schools across the state.
In State College, Tides, an organization for grieving children and those who love them, sponsors an annual observance of Children’s Grief Awareness Day. The mission for the day is to help children who have experienced loss feel less alone and more supported through changing the culture surrounding children and grief.
This year, Tides has selected the theme: The Spectrum of Our Grief. Our Tides gathering on Thursday will include a variety of activities to artfully express our grief, concluding with a group memorial. This is our way of acknowledging this special day for our children and families.
IF YOU GO
What: “The Spectrum of Our Grief”
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Houserville Elementary School, 217 Scholl St., State College
Info: RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday
Evelyn Wald, LPC, is the program director for Tides and a grief and loss counselor at Choices. This column is coordinated by www.ltlwys.org whose mission is to create educational and conversational opportunities for meaningful intergenerational exchanges on loss, grief, growth and transformation.