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Resources for Grieving Families during COVID-19

Dear Highmark Caring Place Families,

It is difficult to believe that it's been so long since we left our Highmark Caring Place buildings and headed home to begin to figure out how to live in a pandemic. As we all know, this journey has been difficult, to say the least. Life as we knew it changed so abruptly. We have all been struggling to pick up the pieces and create a new normal for ourselves and our families — a feeling many of you are all too familiar with. While we aren't in physical contact with you all as we were in the past, please know you are never far from our minds.

As the pandemic continues, the health and well-being of the families we serve, our volunteers, our staff, and the community continues to be our highest priority. We continue to follow all recommended guidelines, especially those regarding large group gatherings. Based on these guidelines, we are continuing with the suspension of in-person peer support groups and other Caring Place in-person programming until further notice.

Now some good news! We have developed a virtual online program to provide support to grieving children and families. We are currently running Caring Place Virtual peer support groups, serving families in Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Warrendale and surrounding areas. If you or anyone you know are in need of grief support after the death of a family member, please reach out to us for details on how to participate in our virtual peer support groups. Learn more details about Caring Place Virtual.

We are committed to supporting you during this time of uncertainty and anxiety. Caring Place staff members are available by phone during normal business hours at all four of our sites should you have concerns for yourself or your children that you would like to discuss. We have compiled below a list of resources that might be helpful to you and your family. You can also find Highmark Caring Place information on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages.

Terese LaVallee
Director, Highmark Caring Place

Highmark Caring Place Virtual

Caring Place Virtual brings the support group experience online. Learn more about Highmark Caring Place Virtual!


Caring For Your Grieving Child: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are articles written by Caring Place staff members addressing the questions most often heard from caregivers about their grieving children. Some of the articles are directly related to COVID-19, and some of them address more general concerns of adults caring for children who are grieving.

Hope Through Children's Books: Videos and Activities

During this time when we can't gather together, the Caring Place staff have put together a series of videos for you and your children to watch together. In each video, a Caring Place staff member reads a book to your child and you. During the video, you will be guided to pause and talk with your child about their response to something being talked about in the book (e.g. "What makes you feel worried?"). Each video has an activity related to the book that you and your child can do together, or they can do on their own.

Hope from Home — Caring Place Activities

Activities at the Caring Place are ways in which children and families can express their feelings, preserve memories and develop coping skills. Although we can't get together at the Caring Place right now, we invite you to join us as we lead you in some activities that you and your family can do from home. These are fun ways for families to connect and have some meaningful conversations while having a good time together. In these videos, see Caring Place staff members demonstrate how to do some of these simple activities from your own home.

Holding On To HOPE — #hope4COVID19

The butterfly is a worldwide symbol of HOPE. Here is an opportunity for all of us to come together and Hold On To HOPE during these difficult days. Print one of our full color Holding On To HOPE signs or the Holding On To HOPE coloring sheet. Then take a picture or video with one of the signs and SHARE it on your social media using the hashtag #hope4COVID19. In your message, let everyone know who you are Holding On To HOPE for (e.g. the doctors, the nurses, my family). Learn more about and participate in Holding On To HOPE.

Don't have a printer? No problem! Any butterfly will do. Get creative, draw your own butterfly and be sure to use the hashtag #hope4COVID19. Remember, even in the darkness, finding HOPE is always possible.

Funerals During a Pandemic: Honoring Loved Ones in This Difficult Time

We know that traditional funerals meet many emotional and social needs when a loved one has died. But with restrictions on gatherings, funerals as we've known them are hard to hold at this time. We've put together resources written by Caring Place staff to help families find alternative ways to say goodbye even while social distancing, along with additional resources from other experts that you and your family might find helpful.

Additional Resources