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 Ben Yin for sharing his story today.
Kids, especially ones that have experienced a loss of a parent or sibling, scare me. Because I lost my dad at age 5, I have placed undue pressure on myself; as if I should automatically be able to relate to the kids at Kate’s Club.
I didn’t want to get stuck in a situation where a kid wanted to discuss his loss and I would have nothing to say. Thus, I’ve been more behind the scenes at KC as opposed to working directly with the kids. But that all changed once I faced my fears and volunteered at a Clubhouse day. These kids aren’t scary. They’re just looking for a safe place to hang out and be themselves. They just want to feel normal and know that they’re not the only ones who have lost a loved one. Each kid has different stories, different backgrounds, and different circumstances. But what they do have in common is strong enough to sustain friendships for years.
Nowhere is that showcased better than at Camp Good Mourning, where some of these kids don’t see their KC friends for a year. At camp, these kids serve as each other’s therapeutic counselors; they laugh together, cry together, and remember together. All I do is play basketball with them and there’s nothing scary about that!