Honoring Rebecca – my grief journey
When my 18-year-old daughter died suddenly of complications from mono, I desperately wanted to do something to honor her. She was studying to be a child-life specialist and wanted to work with dying children. (She had lost a couple of friends along the way). But I was so heartbroken and constantly on the verge of tears for many years, I could barely imagine ever being of service to anyone.
About nine years after losing Rebecca, a friend who was a school counselor told me about the group from [Transitions LifeCare] who comes to her school to do a puppet show on loss for children in 3rd grade. It is called Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope. As a former kindergarten teacher and mother of four children, this had great appeal. I contacted Transitions LifeCare and after some training, I was in. And I loved it. I was doing something to help those who might be grieving, yet it was such a joy for me to be able to do it.
But that was only the beginning. From the puppet facilitators, I found out about the other work they do with children’s bereavement. There are so many programs available for children who have lost a loved one. There are monthly workshops run by the counselors as well as a summer camp. As the kids learn tools to work with their feelings, preserve memories, and honor their loved ones, they are also able to meet other kids like themselves who have found their families disrupted by loss. As a volunteer in the children’s program, I set up, supervise, and listen to the kids as they do art projects and play “grief games.”
Once, we were discussing a project we wanted to do with the kids that required more supplies than we had on hand. The counselor said she wasn’t sure if that would be in the budget. I knew it would be within MY budget and suggested that our family make the donation. After that we became regular donors. I still ask that our donations go to the children’s bereavement program.
When the Trinity Road building opened, I was asked to paint murals on the walls of several rooms. These murals satisfied part of my need to honor my daughter. Her name is on the plaques on each mural, to be seen and remembered by many.
I am a volunteer and a donor. It took me a long time to find ways to honor my daughter. I am grateful to all the wonderful people I have met through Transitions who have helped bring me peace.
-by Peggy Clover