Children's Grief Awareness DaySM
After a loved one dies, there is a sense in which life feels darker, as if some light and color are drained from the world.
This year, the Caring Place will continue in making the darkness a little brighter for these kids through the "Illuminating HOPE" campaign, letting grieving children know that we're remembering them during this season, and helping hope shine a little brighter.
"Illuminating HOPE" will last from October through November, in the weeks leading up to Children's Grief Awareness Day. During this time, a large, lighted butterfly mural will first be created and then displayed.
Thousands of butterflies will be decorated with messages of remembrance and encouragement for those who have experienced the death of someone important to them. These butterflies will then be placed on a dozen lighted canvases to spread the message of HOPE.
Children and adults from throughout the western Pennsylvania community, including visitors to Highmark Caring Place sites in Pittsburgh, Warrendale and Erie, Caring Place community partners, and employees and guests at Highmark and Allegheny Health Network facilities, participated in helping to create the butterflies.
People will then be able to see the finished display as it travels through the region in the weeks leading up to Children's Grief Awareness Day.
Children's Grief Awareness Day is a time set aside to show children who have experienced the death of someone close that they are not alone, and that they are supported in their grief. Illuminating HOPE is a special opportunity for the community to come together to let grieving children know that they are not forgotten and to help them to find the light of HOPE.
Illuminating HOPE display canvases from 2017
Illuminating HOPE display canvases from 2016
A partnership between the Highmark Caring Place and the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion helped to light a path to hope for grieving children.
On the evening before Children's Grief Awareness Day, a giant Butterfly of HOPE made up of thousands of luminary bags lit up the courtyard and the paths of the Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion.
These luminary bags helped to light the way to the Butterfly of HOPE, shining not just with candles inside, but with messages of remembrance and encouragement on the outside of the bags as well, written and drawn by Caring Place families, volunteers and partners who want to show their support of grieving children and help them know they are not alone.