Today is the third of five days I have the girls going to a program called Camp Good Grief. For the uninitiated (and I was too) Camp Good Grief is a week-long day camp for kids who have suffered the loss of a parent. One
of the counselors in 12.0 school recommended it to me in the middle of her sixth grade year after an incident at the school.
I did some research and it seemed like a good thing to try. Certainly the price (free) was right and the timing worked. The girls c
ame home from eight weeks at sleep-away camp a week ago. After some down days of just hanging they are doing Camp Good Grief for five days (its 9-3 so they have time for friends to
o) and then a week before school begins.
In the weeks ahead of this week, East End Hospice (which runs the camp) has sent stuff about the camp to the house, and honestly maybe I need the adult version of Camp Good Grief, because I strugg
le to think about how the girls will handle the outline of the day.
The high level goal is to give voice to feelings and emotions that are perhaps bottled up. There is safety in that all the kids at the camp are in the same place as my girls, so there hopefully is not an awkward feeling abou
t their situation. The days are broken down into emotions, feelings, memories (good and bad) and finally putting words to the feelings.
I think largely because of the age difference and emotional difference the girls so far have reacted differently. 12.0 tends to be more like me and stoic. 9.5 is far more emotive and has been willing to share.
The other take away I get from this experience is a snapshot of their emotional state. On the last day, I spend time with the counselors at the camp to find out how the girls are doing. I think they are doing well, but you never know. Based on that feedback, we’ll figure out if we should resume private therapy once the school year starts.
One of the biggest struggles I have is expressing my own emotions, much less being more than there when the girls express theirs. I encourage it, but at my own peril, because it’s not an area I excel at. But that is probably not as important as the expression itself.
So, each morning this week we have been out of the house around eight, and almost to the end of the North Fork of Long Island. I’ve worked from Starbucks or the pier in Greenport (great open wi-fi if you are in the area), all so the girls can have this opportunity and I can get that snap shot.
Who know, they may even want to go back next year. If they do, they are in.