Center for Grieving Children

Center for Grieving Children

Center for Grieving Children
Center for Grieving Children
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Thinking About Grieving Parents

Taking a moment to think about parents who won't have the opportunity to watch their children get on the bus this year
Here’s where my 13-year-old son should have stood this morning for his obligatory back-to-school picture. Today he should have started 8th grade. Instead he never will. Instead I have an aching heart, an empty porch, and one less "normal" back-to-school picture.

Today I should have taken three back-to-school pictures, not just two.

To every grieving parent with an aching heart, and an empty porch...
To every parent with ONE LESS child...
To every parent who should have sent off ONE MORE to school...
To every parent aching today, and trying to act as normal as possible...

We see you. We feel you. And our hearts ache with yours.

Milestones like back-to-school can feel like a swift punch in the gut. Milestones like these require the art of holding infinite space for BOTH/AND. We need to give ourselves permission and space to honor *ALL* that is true for us today. Even if it feels like we're the only ones feeling this way.

After I dropped off my other two boys at school today I realized I could take the third picture, even though it wasn't how I wanted it to be. So I came home and took this picture. Noah's back-to-school picture. An empty porch, an empty space where he should be. I needed to give myself permission to honor him and hold space for what should have/could have been his first day of school, too. I needed to let myself feel the ache, feel the empty space the size and shape of him.

After I took the picture, I sobbed. I sobbed because I don't want to be a grieving mom. A mom eternally missing one. A mom with a hole in her heart. A mom that feels so vastly unlike all the *other* school moms. I sobbed for all the what-ifs. All the could have/should have beens. I sobbed for everything I'm missing and everything I will miss. I sobbed for my precious firstborn son who never even got one first day of school. I sobbed for every first day of school Noah was robbed of experiencing— an entire childhood of 1st Days of School— gone. I sobbed for every milestone I've missed with him so far, and every milestone I will miss for the rest of my life. An entire lifetime of milestones.

This is grief. This is love. This is parenting after loss.

Read more:
A Bed For My Heart
Category: Family Shade Member, Family Counseling,Family, Community & Civic Organizations
Uplift Center for Grieving Children helps children grieving a death heal and grow through their grief, while strengthening families, communities, and professionals’ understanding of how best to respond to their needs.

Our vision is to ensure that every child in the City of Philadelphia has access to free support after the death of a parent, sibling, or close loved one. Grieving is hard and no one should have to do it alone.

Our Services:

Family Services Grief Groups
Uplift provides peer support groups for children, teens, young adults, and their caregivers who have experienced the death of someone close to them. Divided according to development and age, groups are facilitated by master’s-level trained clinicians and volunteers. While the children’s groups meet, we offer concurrent caregiver support groups. Groups meet in East Falls, West Philadelphia, Lower Northeast Philadelphia, and South Philadelphia.

In-School and Community Grief Groups
Uplift recognizes there are barriers for families to get to grief groups at our main and satellite sites. In-School and Community grief groups function as mobile versions of our Family Services grief groups, allowing services to reach grieving children directly. Uplift provides 8-week grief groups for students in public, private, and charter schools across the City of Philadelphia as well as justice-involved youth programs and community organizations/groups.

Post-Crisis Intervention
In the aftermath of the sudden death of a student or teacher, Uplift utilizes best practices to support school communities requesting assistance, often collaborating with the school district and other community organizations.

Trainings and Workshops
Supporting grieving children can be difficult for many adults who work with youth. Through focused seminars and workshops, Uplift provides professionals and caregivers with the knowledge and tools needed to understand and respond to children’s grief.
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