To help children and their parents cope with the death of a loved one, Akron Children’s offers a six-week Good Mourning support group. These support services are open to all families, not just those who have experienced a loss associated with our hospital.
Recently these services were expanded to include sessions in Spanish.
“For Spanish-speaking families, Good Mourning is provided virtually with the whole family to alleviate transportation issues,” said Monica Coon-Anda, a staff chaplain who leads the Spanish language sessions. “This also expands the potential geographic reach of our program.”
Families receive a packet of information and necessary supplies in advance of the six-week program. Other families may participate at the same time.
“As children and families are processing grief, meeting others who are also grieving can be very beneficial,” Monica said.
Through the sessions, parents gain insight into their children’s grief and ways they can help support them.
The materials for Good Mourning were developed mainly for children but may also be used with teens. The lessons include making a memory box where the child can keep special reminders of their loved one, and planting seeds to understand that every living thing has a beginning and an end. Some of the activities begin with Monica reading a book, in Spanish and English, that introduces the concepts that are discussed.
One such book, The Invisible String, reinforces how families are still connected to their loved ones even if they are no longer physically together.
“This program supports Spanish-speaking families wherever they are in their grief process,” Monica said. “One of our participants was a teenager whose brother died two years ago, but she was still struggling. She learned through our program that death is not in our control, which helped her let go of the guilt she was carrying.”
To make a referral or to register for Good Mourning or learn more, call 330-543-3343. For Spanish-language sessions, contact Monica at 330-543-3447.