Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grief Camp, part 2

Hi Everyone,
Yesterday we started a conversation with a mom about her daughter's experience at Grief Camp. So today we're here to wrap it up in a Q & A format.

Q. Rebecca, why did you decide to send your daughter to Grief Camp? Is it an overnight camp, or a day camp?
A. It's a day camp that ran for three days, and is jointly run by two hospice organizations, in two different towns. I decided to send Olivia because I wanted her to know there are other kids out there who have experienced the death of someone special.

Q. What did Olivia have to say about it?

A. Olivia didn't talk much about her experience, but she showed me the crafts she made, and taught me the songs she'd learned. When I would ask her about what she was learning, she'd say, "Oh, I forget". What a typical 6-year-old LOL.


Q. Did you see any effects of the experience on her?

A. I did notice her wanting to talk more about Scott for a few days during and after the camp, but not overwhelmingly so. She wanted to leaf through our photo albums. I also noticed some regressive behaviors, more baby talk, a bit more clinginess (after the camp), and she started climbing in bed with me in the middle of the night for several nights in a row. More emotional outbursts from time to time, but again, kinda normal six-year-old stuff.


Q. Is there anything you'd change about it if you could?
A. I guess one criticism I have is that it seemed as though no one was "in charge" at the beginning - we all kind of meandered our way to the registration table and figured out on our own what we had to do. Lots of volunteers were just standing around, and I was expecting more of a "welcoming party," but it wasn't a huge deal.

Q. What was the best thing about it?

A. I think the best thing about it was being with other kids. Olivia's a very social girl and we live in the country, so she doesn't have as much social interaction in the summer as she does in the school year. When I picked her up at the end of the camp each day, she always said goodbye to most everyone and hugged a lot of friends, especially the young adult female volunteers. She makes friends easily and is a very compassionate little girl.
I'm not sure there was much that could be done to improve the experience. The hospice chaplain even called the week after camp to followup with how we thought things had gone, which I really appreciated. Our hospice organization has done a great job of keeping track of families like ours in the year since Scott's death.

Thank you Rebecca, it's good to hear about this experience, and to know that this option is out there.

We'd love to hear your experiences and stories, too! Send in your comments and experiences or questions about Grief Camp. Simply click on the comment line and enter them or email them to me at WCplace.gmail.
I always love to hear from you!

ferree

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