| July 2020
Try these summer activities to help when you're grieving
Summer can be a season of mixed emotions for families who are grieving. A break from schoolwork can be a relief for some, while others will miss the structure and social connections that school provides. This summer can be especially difficult with restrictions on physical distancing and travel. If you are the parent or caregiver for children or teens who are grieving, set aside time to talk about memories and traditions, and how this summer might be different. Reassure yourself and others that there is no right way to do this summer and that it’s okay to figure it out together.
Here are a few summer activities for grieving people of any age:
Bubbles are a great way to share memories and messages for yourself or in a group. Say a memory or a message to the person who died out loud or to yourself and then blow a bubble. This is also a good option for children to do on their own whenever they want to say something to the person who died.
Sidewalk Chalk Memories:
For this activity all you need is a sunny day, some chalk, and a sidewalk or driveway. Draw pictures of summer memories with the person who died or write messages. For those who struggle with painful images or regrets, they can write or draw those and then use a hose or a bucket of water to wash them away. Acknowledging and then intentionally erasing those images and regrets may help lessen their intensity.
Express yourself and share memories of your person by painting rocks. Choose smallish rocks and use paint to decorate them with symbols, words, or anything you choose that remind you of the person who died. Once the paint dries, put the rocks around your house or yard, or if appropriate, in a place your person particularly enjoyed like a park or nature trail.
Introducing Dougy Dialogues, a new resource for professionals
The Dougy Center recently launched a brand new video series titled “Dougy Dialogues.” Created primarily for professionals wishing to support children and teens, the series will provide practical information on topics relating to death, dying, loss, and grief. Dougy Dialogues is completely free and available on The Dougy Center’s YouTube channel.
New episodes of Dougy Dialogues will be released about once a month and are primarily hosted by Dr. Monique Mitchell, The Dougy Center’s Director of Translational Research & Curriculum Development, and Dr. Donna Schuurman, The Dougy Center’s Senior Director of Advocacy & Training and Executive Director Emeritus.
The first episode, available now, focuses on the importance of being critically aware of the impact of language, and addresses important considerations around the terms “goodbye” and “closure.”
Portland couple walks from Dawn to Dusk on the longest day of the year for The Dougy Center
For the sixth year in a row, Richard and Tatyana Sundvall walked from sunrise to sunset (5:22 a.m. to 9:03 p.m.) on the longest day of the year, to raise awareness and support for The Dougy Center. The “Dawn to Dusk” walk on June 20 took them nearly 40 miles through Portland neighborhoods, and they raised more than $10,000 for programs to help kids grieving the death of a loved one.
As Tatyana says: “The loss of someone you love is truly one of the longest days of anyone’s life. The Dawn to Dusk walk on the longest day of the year is symbolic of those grieving a death.” The Sundvall’s have suffered through losses in their own lives and love the work of The Dougy Center. To help The Dougy Center, even in a small way, gives them satisfaction like they’ve never felt before and helped with their own healing.
Richard and Tatyana are matching every gift given to The Dougy Center through the Dawn to Dusk event. If you would like to contribute, you can make a donation here.
A huge thank you to Richard and Tatyana for all they do in support of The Dougy Center! Top
Farewell to Joan and Mia
The Dougy Center recently said farewell to two long-time staff members. At the end of June, Joan Schweizer Hoff and Mia Nyschens retired from the program team, and while we will miss them dearly, we’re excited for their new adventures.
Joan joined The Dougy Center staff nearly 28 years ago. In addition to leading support groups and other program activities, Joan is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of childhood bereavement after a suicide or violent death. Through trainings and community response efforts, Joan has traveled around the world, and been on scene in the aftermath of school shootings and other tragic events.
Mia has been at The Dougy Center for almost six years and was instrumental in starting our Pathways program for children, teens, and families living with an advanced serious illness. Mia also played in an integral role in the development of Family Ties Through An Advanced Serious Illness, a collection of resources for families facing a terminal diagnosis.
Words cannot express the immense impact Joan and Mia have had on The Dougy Center and the families we serve. We are truly grateful for their kindness, knowledge, and support. Thank you Joan and Mia! Top