Another Camp HOPE has come and gone, and we are left with the tan lines from that sunny day and the memories that remain. The weather, albeit a little hot for this former Montana girl, was perfect. The sun was shining, a nice breeze was continuous off the lake and we felt the blessings of the day before the families even arrived. Something that I love during our camps is that moment when the air changes. That moment when families start to arrive and things go from that event planning chaos to the calm and excitement of watching these people on their grief journey right in front of us.
Spring camp is very different from fall camp, in that you get to watch these participants in their family dynamic. You watch them grieve and learn and heal together.
I will never not be amazed by the tools of expression that are utilized in camp. Comparing a giant swing hoisted up in the tree to the feelings of helplessness that we experience after a loss. Then taking that comparison and driving it home by describing how to overcome those feelings. I could go through every tool of expression and gush about them for hours, but nothing comes close to seeing it in person. I watched families listen and absorb the lessons, I like to think I watched some healing too.
Equally as amazing to watch is the bereavement team in action. Not only them, but all the volunteers. You can see the fire and the passion that they have for these children and these families. It is beyond magical to be blessed enough to capture these moments from behind the lens of a camera. I will always be grateful for that. For healing. For camp. For Shepherds Cove. For the families. For the weather. For the day.
National Child Abuse Prevention month may be ending soon, but the fight against child abuse and neglect continues. And it’s one we can all be part of.
Blue pinwheels spin in front of the Shepherd’s Cove Hospice sign, which has been lit blue for the past week. If you saw any of our staff members out and about this month, you likely spotted a blue ribbon attached to their nametag. We embraced blue in April to help bring awareness to the issues of child abuse and neglect.
But what do child abuse and neglect have to do with Shepherd’s Cove Hospice? There are many factors that can lead to child abuse. At Shepherd’s Cove Hospice, we strive to do our part to lower or eliminate the number of local children who are abused and neglected because their parents or guardians don’t know how to cope with grief.
Grief affects everyone at some point in their lives. One recent study showed, in on year in the U.S.:
- Eight million people suffered through the death of someone in their immediate family.
- An estimated 800,000 spouses lost their husband or wife.
- 400,000 people under 25 suffered from the death of a loved one.
We also know one in five children will experience the death of someone close to them by the age of 18.
When not dealt with properly, grief can have major negative effects on families. Adults who do not know how to cope with their grief in a positive manner can easily lose sight of their responsibilities to the children under their care. They also may not know how to help those children, who are likely grieving as well.
If you know someone who has lost a loved one and may need some help, don’t ignore their grief or take it lightly. Point them to counseling and support groups. There is no shame in asking for help, needing some extra support from others during such difficult times. Numerous support groups are available throughout the area. Shepherd’s Cove Hospice offers one-on-one counseling and support groups for people of all ages and stages of life, regardless of the nature of their loss. They do not have to have been served by hospice. All our grief support services are available free of charge. Visit our website or call 256-891-7724 to learn more about these services.