Sunday, December 9, 2012

Creative Outlets on Grief Journey

Keeping your mind occupied during your grief journey is important. Creative activities can be very helpful when grieving.

Giving a gift of stained glass art is a way to welcome new parents into a grief group. One mother showed she cared and understood what these new grieving parents were experiencing. Most of the stained glass she makes are hearts with the deceased child’s name in the middle, a way of showing the parents that their child is always in their heart. This can be done on your own or an entire group of mothers can work together on this type of project. Using their hands is not the only benefit, but also, “it gives us an opportunity to talk,” said Christine Gaudet, who lost her 18-year-old son in an accident on May 29, 2011. “More than making something, it is a time to get together with people who understand your particular pain,” she added. Gaudet also tries to individualize each heart, using the child’s favorite color. Other stained glass objects may also help. Think about your child and whatever comes to mind that they were fond of can probably be done in stained glass.

Another creative activity is making a memory book. Memory books can hold not only pictures but also items from your child’s life, such as awards they won or writings from school. I remember my daughter made a certificate at school that said, “World’s Best Mom and Teacher” and drew a 1st place ribbon on the side of it. She was 6 years old at the time, and 40 years later I still have and treasure that paper.

Listening to soft music can be soothing to the heart, relaxing and put you in a good place. I know that when I am anxious or need to relax and think of something other than my child, I concentrate on playing the piano, and it calms me down. Or just putting on headphones and listening to music with or without words may bring back memories that were forgotten.

Still others will knit baby bonnets, jackets and blankets to donate to friends or local hospitals. Knitting in a group and the talking done among the parents, as author Ann Hood, who wrote “The Knitting Circle” will tell you, can help in the healing process.

By using their hands, these parents don’t have to think, and it can lead to some new discoveries, like a good memory you would like to remember. Memories of your child are important to hang on to.

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