My name is Carol Linsenmayer. My 9 year old daughter, Danielle, and I attended New Hope for Kids Center for Grieving Children after the death of my husband, her dad, in 2006. Paul always had a caring and giving heart. He was also the greatest “Mr. Mom”. For those of us that were left behind, going through this transition became heart wrenching. New Hope for Kids got us through those troubled times.
Imagine parenting while grieving. Many are ignorant of what happens when our world changes. Dealing with a loss is so very hard for the parent, because you are quietly trying to get through the pain and heartbreak yourself while struggling to stay strong and whole for your children.
For us, the most vulnerable time of grieving was when the funeral was over. The flower baskets stopped coming and everyone went home. Others went back to their normal lives and we were left alone to face a new world of difficult change ahead. As I looked into the eyes of my child as she missed her dad, I just wanted to hold her for hours. Unfortunately, there was little time for that because in the meantime I still needed to run the household, the dog still needed to be walked, Danielle still had to go to school, and I still had to try hard to make it to my job.
At New Hope for Kids Center for Grieving Children, Danielle began to feel a sense of normalcy as she reached awareness that there are other kids going through similar experiences. I could see how important it was for these children, working together in peer groups, to have action-filled outlets to express themselves so they didn’t become detached from life. My daughter loved the children’s activities, tailored to dealing with the death of her dad. I believe this approach provided a vehicle to express her emotions and to replenish her heart through the action of playing with other kids in similar situations. New Hope for Kids encourages and radiates this healing action.
Attending the adult support group provided me with time to spend unloading my pain and gaining insight into my own healing. As a group, we adults learned how to help carry our beloved children through their own healing process. We learned we have to get up and carry on, even if we would rather choose to stay in bed or fade away from life and reality. We helped each other get grounded and reconnected to the journey and healing process as we dealt with the ups and downs associated with grief. In the safety of this place I experienced comfort and listened to caring messages which poured out among the members of my group. One of the most important benefits of attending the adult support sessions is that the children sense and then respond to how their adult (parent, grandparent, caregiver) is managing the grieving process. It is like a symbiotic relationship – if the adult becomes strong and hopeful, the child will also become strong and hopeful.
I encourage families to make the choice to get the help they need. We cannot change what happened or the traumatic experience which brought us there, but we can find hope. New Hope for Kids Center for Grieving Children provides a place where families can sit together in its warm and cozy living room, share feelings and get whole again. It is a place filled with comfort, love and understanding after a loss, a place where, even after tragedy, a butterfly can emerge.