Every summer, GGNWO pauses its support groups to give our wonderful volunteers a well-deserved break. This time also gives our staff the chance to review the past program season and prepare for the next one, as well as participate in seminars, workshops, and other educational opportunities specific to supporting grieving young people.
But we know summer can be a season of mixed emotions for many families in grief. The end of school and related activities can be a relief for some, and others miss the structure and social time that school and sports provide.
Our friends at The Dougy Center have a couple of summer activity suggestions that grieving people - of any age - might find helpful:
Sidewalk Chalk Memories: For this activity, all you need is a sunny day, some chalk, and a sidewalk or driveway. Whether as a family or individually, people can draw pictures of summer memories with the person who died or write messages. For those who struggle with painful images or regrets, they can write or draw those and then use a hose or a bucket of water to wash them away. Acknowledging and then intentionally erasing those images and regrets may help lessen their intensity.
Plant A Garden: One way to remember and honor someone who has died is to plant flowers in a garden or in pots. Make it even more special by choosing flowers or plants that remind you of your person and create special signs explaining the connection. "Sunflowers for Mom because she loved the color yellow."
Bubble Messages: Bubbles are a great way to share memories and messages with a group or individually, while also being outside. As a group, invite each person to share a memory or a message to the person who died out loud, or to themselves, while they blow a bubble. This is also a good option for children to do on their own whenever they want to say something to the person who died.
Make Their Favorite Food: Certain foods can help us remember those we are missing. Make your person's favorite recipe and encourage kids to help. Let the smells and tastes help spark conversation and sharing stories about your person.