In the first session, Tom’s Support Worker asked him why he though his mum had brought him to the Centre. He seemed nervous and said “To talk about what is going on in my head.” One of the exercises in the workbook used by the volunteer asked Tom to “Draw a picture of how it hurts when someone you love goes away.” Tom drew a picture of a heart and shared “I feel the hurt in my heart and what hurt most is that Dad died.” When asked what he was feeling he replied “I am heart-breaking”.
He wrote on the picture of the heart that he was also feeling “sad, extremed, upset, angry, shocked, patience, terrible, not alive, anxious and unhappy”. He explained each of the feelings, describing “sad” as “Do you know how you feel happy when you are alive and not sad? I miss Dad, he was good to me. I feel not alive when I miss Dad. When I’m sad I am not alive.” He went on to explain “extremed” by extending his arms and saying “I felt extremed because I felt shocked and upset. I feel shocked Dad died so suddenly and so young. My Dad was only forty-two. I feel terrible myself.
At the end of each session, Tom shared his feelings. He said “I am happy. It am finding it helpful coming in here. You are helping me to understand what happened. I learn what is going on. I sort things out. I am able to get my words out.”
At the last session, the Support Worker asked Tom to complete an evaluation sheet. In it he said that what he had found most helpful was “Talking about the person. I got used to it and it helped me to talk about it with my family.”
When asked what he liked most about coming to the Centre, he said “I liked writing about my Dad. Helen helped me by saying it was OK to cry.”
Tom was asked if the sessions had made any difference in his life, and if so – could he describe the differences? He answered “The sessions made a difference to me. I am not as worried as I used to be. Thank you for helping me.”
“The most powerful validation of the work was when Tom said “I am able to get my words out.”
Mary was 4 years old when her parents separated and she attended the Children’s Grief Centre at age 17. In her first session she shared that she had felt sad since she was 7 years old and had “struggled with her feelings since then”.
Mary talked about the difficulties she experienced when parent-teacher meetings were held at school. When asking her mother to attend, her mother would reply “is he coming?” If she asked her Dad to attend, he would ask “is she coming?” She recalled in detail her parents’ passing comments about each other which hurt her deeply – even up to the present time. Her biggest worry was that “the nasty comments will never stop”. She explained “anything said to me in the last 7 years is still with me and still upsets me. I feel trapped. I can’t leave. I can’t get away from it. I feel very tense.”
“The sessions have made a huge difference in my life. Being able to talk freely and openly in a safe environment without judgement. Having the power to choose the time and date of the appointments. Being able to talk to someone completely neutral and so understanding. After the Support Worker met my parents, both were able to form an amicable relationship after years of a very strained one.”
Over the years, this is what PARENTS have said about the Centre:
This is what some of the YOUNGSTERS with whom we have worked, have had to say…