Posted: Aug 8, 2013 5:37 PM by Angela Douglas - MTN News
BILLINGS - Abby Job is a bright, bubbly 9-and-a-half-year-old girl who loves to play, laugh, and have fun. But when her grandma passed away a few years ago, it proved to be a difficult time.
"It was really sad," Abby recalled. "She liked to garden, she knitted my baptism dress, she made me almost a 100-piece quilt, she knitted me two little quilts."
Abby's mom, Trina, decided to enroll her in a children's bereavement support group.
"I think kids tend to open up more to other kids," said Trina. "They have things in common, they have that in common, that they've lost someone they love. So I think it helps them get through that time."
"Hands, Hearts and Hope Bereavement Support Group" was created by Rocky Mountain Hospice social worker, Laurie Townsend. The program works with kids who have recently lost a loved one.
"Sometimes the children are often the forgotten or silent grievers," explained Townsend. "Sometimes the adults aren't sure what to say or do and this gives the children an opportunity to be with other children of the same age who can understand what they're going through."
With a hands-on, interactive approach the support group gently guides the children through the emotions their experiencing.
"They bring in baby pictures and talk about how they've changed since that baby picture and how they've changed since the loss of their loved one," Townsend said.
Abby agreed that spending time with other kids helped her grieve for her grandma.
"It was making me feel special and supported," Abby said. "It helped me just focus on other things besides my grandma."
The group also gave Trina a sense of relief.
"I think it just gave me some closure and peace, knowing that Laurie was going to help her through that," Trina explained. "I had a hard time getting her to take about it."
Soon after the program, Trina saw a noticeable change in her young daughter.
"She seemed happier," she said.
And Abby agreed, "It was an awesome program."
The Hands, Hearts and Hope Bereavement Support Group begins next month with weekly sessions from September 10th through October 22nd.
The group is specifically for children ages 7-12.
The program is free of charge.
For more information, contact Laurie at 406-294-0786 or visit the Rocky Mountain Hospice website.