These Kids Have Suffered Incredible Heartbreak, But How They’re Finding Healing Is Truly Inspiring

grieving kids camp monarch

These grieving kids have suffered incredible heartbreak. But now, they have an opportunity to find healing and it’s truly inspiring!

Forty-two kids gathered at Camp Monarch and enjoyed photos with a llama named Tony and even chased a few chickens. All around them were the songs of drums with activities like coloring and story time.

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You would think it was just another fun-filled summer camp. But this camp has a dual purpose. The camp wants kids to enjoy being kids and also learn how to grieve the loss of loved ones.

A Special Place For Grieving Kids

Death isn't something children are equipped to handle, much less adults. Death happens to everyone, and yet, we don't want to talk about this final chapter of existence. It seems too taboo when in reality, it's just another part of life.

Sometimes we lose a loved one too soon or unexpectedly, and we don't know how to handle the grief process. Grief comes in waves, and kids can drown in rising tides. We know that death is the last step before we shed our worldly bodies and come face to face with Christ. But for children, it's a hard concept to comprehend.

Debbie Vallandingham, Angela Hospice's director of grief care services, said "Grief shared is grief diminished. We want to instill in children that being open, talking, sharing, being able to discuss your feelings is a normal part of life, not something that we should hide or something that we should be embarrassed of."

And that's what the children at camp are doing. The kids are grieving the loss of mothers, fathers, siblings, cousins, and so forth in a setting that embraces their childhood and gives them tools and strength to keep moving forward. It's different for adults. It hits us in waves, and we can tread the waters of grief at our own pace. Yet, children find themselves drowning and in need of a lifeboat to pull them ashore.

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"Most parents don't realize that the kid's going to keep revisiting this until they are literally an adult," Debbie said. "That's a lot for their adult to handle, usually, because they move at a very different pace than that child that's grieving."

Learning How To Cope

This year at camp, the 42 children present are learning that death is like a jungle. It's shaded with dark patches of the forest, but it also has beautiful hidden gems of peace. They're on the hunt for paper sloths with instructions to take the journey slowly as therapists teach tools like "monkey breaths" and other volunteers give encouragement and support.

Along the way, they find that other fellow campers are grieving the loss of a loved one too. They find they aren't alone as each child shares their stories on a jungle leaf with a photo of the person they lost. Together the grieving kids walk under the canopy of leaves, notes, and photos as they bond through their shared grief.

"The important thing is the kids see they are not alone in this journey," Leah Bengal said, a social worker who volunteered for camp. Leah lost her mother to suicide when she was 12 and went to a camp like Camp Monarch. She found the experience to be life-changing and wanted to help others on their grief journey too.

Prayers For Grieving Kids

What an incredible way to embrace death. All too often, we're afraid of death, and we're left to pick up the pieces. But we weren't meant to grieve alone. Nor were we meant to be afraid. But we are left with the promised filled hope we will be reunited with our loved ones when there will be no more death, tears, or pain.

As we carry our loved ones in our hearts, God carries the bond we hold and looks forward to the day we all will stand side by side with him. What an incredible way to help grieving kids learn to heal!

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"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away," Revelations 21:4.

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h/t: Yahoo

Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Angela Hospice