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Staten Island Grief Center
P.O. Box 10311
Staten Island, New York 10301
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Emma’s Place Activity Suggestions
In these uncertain times, when many of us are house-bound, it can be difficult to know how to fill the hours. When families are also coping with the loss of a loved one, those empty hours can seem especially long. Although, we cannot meet with you face-to-face at this time, we wanted to send you some suggestions so that you can continue the important work you have been doing as you grieve your loss. You can simply use items you already have at home!
Using images from old magazines or fliers you get in the mail, you and your child can create a collage of all the things that remind you of the person you lost. Remember to talk to each other about why you chose certain images. It is a wonderful way to share stories and experiences with your loved one that you may not have talked about before.
With school not in session and many parents working from home, take some time to finally organize all the pictures many of us have piled up. You can do that digitally by creating folders on your computer or manually by putting them into photo albums or scrapbooks. Even construction paper and tape can be wonderful creative ways to organize memories. You children can even create borders or include special images around the pictures to customize the album and reflect their unique experience of their lost loved one. Every picture has a story attached to it. Share them with each other and do not be afraid of the emotions that come with them. If a picture makes you cry, cry together. It one makes you angry, talk about why. If it makes you laugh, share the funny experience the picture did not capture. Children, especially, feel less lonely in their grief when they know they are not the only ones experiencing conflicting and varied emotions. Talk about how you feel and what you do about it and let them do the same. It is a way to check in with each other.
These extreme memories are the gateway to all the others. They open up a conversation that stretches beyond the experiences and into the grief. Be honest and your children will do the same. They wonder about you as much as you wonder about them.
Children do not automatically know how to grieve. They are taught by the adults in their lives and the grief they witness. They need to be guided in the best ways to release and express emotions. You can create an emotion bag together that they can use when they (or you) need to express their emotions. Creating it together will allow everyone to share ways they express emotions and to offer suggestions. The more varied options you have in the bag, the better chance for everyone’s need to be met and for there to be alternatives they (or you) may not have thought to try.
Tape some pieces of paper together to create a blank canvass and attach it to the wall or floor with painters’ tape. Encourage your child to visit the wall when they need to work through an emotion or when a memory is at the forefront of their mind. Have washable markers on hand so that, when they need to they can draw what they need to on the paper, adding more if needed. Just having it available can be very comforting for children. Try to have it in a spot that is accessible to everyone and prominent in the house. Those images are a wonderful springboard for discussion as you ask them to share what they created or displayed.
Cut up strips of paper, and each day each person can write something they appreciated about your loved one, or something you wish you could have said to your loved one but didn’t get the chance to say. You can have these strips to read whenever you want. Each family member can decide
whether they would like to share what they wrote with anyone