Children's Grief Awareness Day: On the Verge of a Better Tomorrow

We designate days as "special" and ritualize them because they mean something to us historically, religiously, or culturally. They are often days that intend to preserve memory or tradition. We have Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day and Labor Day. There are days we have preserved as part of our cultural heritage and there are days where causes seek national attention like Children's Grief Awareness Day.

Our day, Children's Grieve Awareness Day, is a day we wish to propel into the mainstream. It is a day with great ambition and a day filled with big heroes in little bodies—kids. Children wear blue and draw attention to themselves, as if to say remember me and remember my story—I am not alone. It is a day in which many families, programs, and caring adults draw awareness to a life experience in which our culture is not meaningfully engaged, especially in our post-industrial and medically advanced world. It is also a day of solidarity.

In our own ways, we have collectively chosen to remind our communities that children grieve. We help our communities remember just a week before Thanksgiving. The placement of this day is a real cultural paradox. We live in a time filled with conversations and jargon about networking, connections, and community building, yet these are also times filled with disconnect, isolation, and a yearning for meaning.

Children's Grief Awareness Day occurs during a season of thanksgiving, moments before we embark on a season of consumerism. And so, in some ways, our day is a call for gratitude and a reminder of what is most real and good in life—the power of human connection and the grief that accompanies the breaking of those bonds. When we remind the world about the challenges children face each day, hopefully those who hear are moved to feeling grateful for those meaningful relationships in their lives, and hopefully they are more open to being called to action by becoming more competent about the needs of children and families.

Children's Grief Awareness Day is certainly about reminding people that children grieve, but we should not forget that it is also a call to action and gratitude. It is a call for our culture and communities to make meaningful paradigm shifts, moving from a place of being indifferent and disempowered to communities that are supportive and informed. And in that spirit, we are making great progress.

As an alliance, we continue to grow and engage more professional groups and communities. We are reaching more underserved communities thanks to the support of the Grief Reach grant program sponsored by New York Life Foundation. We are finding common words, together, to collectively talk about this issue and address injustices that children, teens, and families face after the death of a significant person. We are far from reaching every child, far from a changed world, and far from seeing our field and shared work fizzle into irrelevance. Instead, we remain on the verge of national awareness, on the verge of changing indifference, and always on the verge of ensuring that every child gets the support they need and deserve when they experience grief. The road ahead may be long, but we are on it together, and isn't it good that we are not alone.

We remain on the verge. And this week, we are on the verge of a better tomorrow as we continue to raise awareness.


 Joseph Primo, MDiv
 Chief Executive Officer
 Good Grief, Morristown, NJ & Princeton, NJ



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