As we prepare for this year’s Memory Walk on November 16 and National Grief Awareness Day on November 21, we will be sharing personal grief journeys, tools to better understand and cope with grief, and inspirational stories. Many thanks to Sameer Vyas for sharing his story today.
Walls holding back months and years of grief literally get knocked down at Camp Good Mourning and it is a sight I will never forget. My dad died five years ago and I didn’t know how to grieve, or even know what it truly was. I quickly realized that most my peers didn’t know what it was either or how to lend support. Having gone to Camp Good Mourning twice now, I can truly say it changes lives.
The Luminary Walk challenges kids to face and work through their emotions in a supportive environment. Each child is given a picture of their loved one to decorate a bag, which requires them to visualize and talk about their loved ones. During dinner, the staff places each bag by the cabins at Camp Twin Lakes and lights them up with LED candles. After dinner as a group, in silence, we walk by each glowing luminary and reflect.
It is an extremely powerful event that is difficult to describe. Inevitably, someone starts crying and that first drop of tears magically transforms the group. The environment is set, and stages hours of powerful connection and support afterwards. You see others experience similar emotions that you have, and this display of grief makes it okay for everyone to grieve. You are not alone. You connect, you hug, and you process.
I distinctly remember several kids thanking me for simply being there with them while they sobbed and spoke. For many, it was their first time truly talking about their loved one with full openness. It makes what Kate’s Club does so worth it.