Caring Place Support Groups
Many people feel like they should be able to cope with a death. But grief lasts longer than we expect and is bigger than we think it will be. There are ways that we can help our children through this process. One of the most effective ways is finding and being open to support and help from others. Peer support programs like the Caring Place are one way to get support from others who can understand what we're going through.
The Highmark Caring Place can help
When a person we love has died, we go through a door into a new world. No one asked us if we wanted to go in, but here we are. Now what? How do we journey through this new world as we search to find a "new normal"?
You won't find a map for this new world, or a guide book. One thing you will often find, however, is a lot of well-intentioned, but misplaced advice from others who have never been through this nightmare.
On the other hand, what you can find at the Highmark Caring Place is support and nurturance from others who have been there, and are continuing to find their way in this new world.
Here, children, teens and adults have the support of others their own age, others who know what it's like to live with such a big loss. They have the support of their peers, and also of caring adult volunteers and staff.
Through this support, grieving kids and adults come to find a new place for their loved one in their lives, through sharing their memories with others. In this way, they find ways to manage the painfully difficult grief, and continue to live life in the midst of grief.
"After the accident, I wouldn't talk to anyone, I wouldn't cry because I felt that I had to be strong because people expected me to be. But it didn't let me grow. It held me back from being truly happy.
"When I came to the Caring Place I realized that you can talk about it and let your feelings out and sometimes even cry and still be strong. It helped me, realizing that being strong doesn't mean, 'Don't cry, don't talk about it.'
"Being strong means dealing with it and living your life and talking about it with anyone. By letting it out I realized that even though it hurts, I can go out, I can have fun and I can still do what I want to do. I still can accomplish my dreams. I learned that you can't hold everything inside of you because you will just go crazy.
"It's hard, but you have to do it and you have to talk about it or else you are just going to go crazy, you're going to explode one day.
"Coming to the Caring Place and letting this all out has helped me grow up and just become a better person."
Megan, 15, Caring Place participant