Children’s Grief Awareness Day is observed every year on the third Thursday in November. This time of year is a particularly appropriate time to support grieving children because the holiday season is often an especially difficult time after a death. This year, the day will be observed on Nov. 21.
In just five years, thousands of schools, businesses and organizations — along with local, state and national leaders from across the United States, reaching tens of thousands of children each year — have worked in many ways to raise awareness of grieving children and to change the culture in schools by making death and grief an “OK” topic. The inspiration came from Fred Rogers’ belief that sharing difficult things in life is the necessary first step in managing them.
They work to provide a safe place, a caring and supportive atmosphere, and a strong and accepting adult presence. No one can just take away a child’s grief. HOPE the Butterfly was created to spread this message of hope to grieving children across the world that they’re not alone and “it won’t always hurt so bad.”
In embracing this day, Yolo Hospice purchased a butterfly house from Cloverlawn Butterflies to grow them from chrysalis (caterpillar) to butterfly. Children in the Stepping Stones Bereavement Program fed, gave care and watched them grow. They also wrote notes to their loved ones and then released the butterflies on Oct. 9 here in Davis.
“We chose this time, as the weather is conducive for the survival of the butterflies,” says Aja Michael, coordinator for the children’s bereavement program.
The butterfly is commonly considered a symbol of hope. There is something special about releasing butterflies. They remind us of change, life and hope. Yolo Hospice staff and volunteers will be wearing blue on Thursday in honor of Children’s Grief Awareness Day.
The Yolo Hospice Stepping Stones bereavement program for children is supported by generous donors from our community. Donations can be specified for art and craft supplies for this unique program. If you would like to learn more, take a tour of the children’s activity room, or contribute to the program, please contact Aja Michael or Denise Rose.
On Nov. 11, Yolo Hospice staff had the privilege to participate in honoring veterans in our program. Community liaison Louise Joyce visited our veterans and delivered a certificate of appreciation and a “We Honor Veterans” pin to thank these special people for their service to our country.
Yolo Hospice is a participating partner in the “We Honor Veterans” Program. This partnership was developed by the Veterans Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The goal of this partnership is to educate our staff and community about the unique needs of veterans at the end of life and provide that essential care.
For more information about this partnership, visit www.wehonorveterans.org.
Yolo Hospice is dedicated to providing the best care, when you need it. We believe in the power of love and goodness. For more information, call 530-758-5566 or visit www.yolohospice.org.
— Colleen Brock is marketing coordinator for Yolo Hospice. This column is published monthly.