For the most part creative blogs tend to be light in content,
so I have deliberated over whether to write this post or not.
In this post, I want to talk about grief and loss, and children.
Ari's Grandma (his father's mother) has terminal cancer
and is in palliative care at the moment. She is dying.
Perhaps, this is why I have not been posting much lately...
(nb: On Monday 18th July, Beryl sadly passed away I wrote this as a tribute to her)
As you can imagine this is a very hard time our family, and
it is hard to find happy words when there is such sadness,
and death and loss are difficult to write about, but at home
lately, there has been much discussion on death and dying.
There is a lovely review of the above and other Oliver Jeffers books
The Grieving Child by Helen Fitzgerald.
The above book is a great resource for anyone seeking advice on
explaining death to a child and ways to help them cope with loss.
It and other brilliant books (on a whole variety of topics)
can be found at the Open Leaves Bookshop.
My son Ari, who is five, is facing the death and subsequent loss
of a person whom he loves very much, for the first time,
although he has of course encountered death itself before...
A few years ago we found a baby Sparrow. We named him Jack.
Jack had a broken wing. We loved that little sparrow and
we attempted to nurse him back to health, but Jack Sparrow died.
As we didn't have a garden, only a window full of pot plants, we
wrapped Jack in tissue, placed him in a box and took him to a park.
We dug a little hole, said goodbye and buried him.
This year our neighbour's dog Mac, whom we loved dearly,
was suddenly put down. I wrote this post about his death.
...whatever form it takes, death is difficult for children to face.
Even the sight of a dead insect can evoke concerns about death.
Lifetimes by Brian Mellonie and Robert Ingpen.
Lifetimes talks about life and death in quite secular terms.
It was a gift to me from my mother when I was a child, and it
is, as described a 'beautiful way to explain death to children'.
I highly recommend it to anyone with children.
When I was younger I spent many years working creatively as
a trained volunteer with an organisation called Very Special Kids.
VSK are a Victorian based organisation, who provide support
to the families of children with life-threatening illnesses.
I am fascinated with the Creative Arts Therapies, and this is primarily
what drew me to become involved with emotional release work.
At VSK I worked with social workers, assisting on camps and at fun days.
Sometimes I facilitated creative workshops of my own design.
I also orchestrated activities and decorations for Remembrance Day,
a day that is held annually to remember the children who have passed.
And, I spent much time contemplating the ways in which contemporary
Western Society approach death and loss, especially regarding children.
I am a great believer in the benefits of the creative arts
...visual art, dance, drama, music, literature...
as tools of expression and therapy for children and teens.
They are invaluable tools for emotional release work and
in aiding children to develop their own grieving processes.
For more information on Art Therapy, you can visit this site.