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    Nurturing Memories/Healing Grief
    Children's Bereavement Art Group
    Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento

    Suggestions for families to continue grief support
    for children and teens

    1. Keep photos of the deceased out in the home, on display. Create a special place of honor/memory by placing a candle or vase of flowers by the photo. Make a conscious point of lighting the candle on special family holidays to remember the deceased loved one.

    2. Visit the cemetery/gravesite on special days. Have your children/teens write a note to the deceased or draw pictures to place at the gravesite. Balloon releases with a written message on the balloons are wonderful rituals to continue with your family.

    3. Involve all family members in creating a photo album and/or scrapbook of photos, favorite sayings, and stories about your deceased loved one. Take the time to share these precious memories often, especially with younger children who will depend on their older family members to keep the memories and legacy of the deceased alive and vital for them as they cognitively mature.

    4. Plant a flower or shrub in the backyard that will memorialize the deceased. Have the children paint a river rock with the deceased's name as a special monument. Send family and friends packets of flower seeds (Forget-Me-Nots) to be planted on the death anniversary or birthday of the deceased.

    5. Create a special "memory box" and place it in a prominent place in your home. Have colored pieces of paper available so that each family member can write down thoughts, memories and feelings about the deceased as they go through his/her daily life. Select a specific time (weekly, after church, on special holidays) to open the box and read these important recollections.

    6. Jewelry can be created using the deceased's birthstone. Lockets can be worn with photos enclosed. Charms may be selected that represent the deceased's favorite things/interests. Charms can also be engraved with names and dates.

    7. The holidays can be difficult for families, especially the first few years without the deceased. Acknowledge deceased loved ones on these days with rituals and special activities, i.e. toasting the deceased at the family table, a trip to a favorite place of the deceased (park, ocean, restaurant) to acknowledge a birthday or death anniversary. Hang an ornament on the holiday tree to honor the deceased. Donate time, money, goods in the name and memory of the deceased to charities that seem to reflect the values and interests of the deceased.

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