Lost and Found Grief Center Remembers Lost Loved Ones
Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner. For many, it’s a special time to remember and honor lost loved ones. Lost and Found grief center will commemorate lost loved ones in a special event Thursday evening. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has this report.
Dr. Karen Scott, executive director of the center, gives me a tour of the building off Cedarbrook and Pythian. Shelves stretching up to the ceiling line one wall in the children’s room. It looks much like any other youthful atmosphere filled with toys, games, books and artwork. However, this room is part of a grief center dedicated to helping children work through the unthinkable loss of a parent or sibling. Sabriana Dinwiddie is one of many teenagers who has lost a parent, and she found comfort here.
“My dad passed away in October of 2009. And I think we started coming in November 2009, and I’ve been here ever since. I didn’t really know a lot of people at school, or in places that I went, that had experienced the loss of a parent. So it kind of gave me a place where I didn’t have to put on the ‘public face,’”
Dinwiddie said.Dinwiddie shares one of the most valuable things she has realized since her father’s death.
“One of the things that has helped me the most is that grief isn’t something you get over, it’s something you get through,” Dinwiddie said.
Anna Radford has also suffered the loss of a parent. She thought she was okay afterwards, but there were a lot of emotions she just didn’t know how to deal with by herself.
“Society is not comfortable with grief, I feel like. And so they feel like you should ‘get over it’ really quickly,” Radford said.
Radford says that she has she benefited so much from the support she received during her painful experience. She’s now using what she has learned to help other children.“My mom died two years ago of cancer. I started to come to Lost and Found right after that. I went through group [therapy] until I graduated from high school. Now I’m in the young-adults’ group and I facilitate a children’s’ group, because I wasn’t ready to leave here. And I love helping the little kids,” said Radford.
Karen Scott says that in the last 10 years, the center has provided no cost grief support to more than 5000 individuals in southwest Missouri. Scott says that children especially have a hard time knowing how to express their intense emotional loss. She says that events like the balloon release give a child a more comfortable and positive way to remember that special person.
“One of the reasons we have this event is because we know that for those people who have lost a loved one, there is an ongoing need to recognize the importance of that person. So it doesn’t matter if the death occurred last week or 15 years ago, it allows them to acknowledge the importance of the life that has been lost in a very public way. And it’s a very uplifting way,” Scott said.
Last year there were more than 2000 balloons released for this event. Sabriana Dinwiddie says she feels the event is very heartwarming.
“Last year it was really touching because of all of the balloons up in the sky. And you kind of realize that even though you sometimes feel like you are the only one, you’re really not. All of those balloons are for somebody who’s passed away. It’s really a community-wide thing that makes you feel like a part of something bigger,” Dinwiddie said.
Thursday’s event will include a 5K family run and walk, and will take place at Jordan Valley Park. Events start at 5:45 p.m. You can purchase balloons and register either in advance or on the day of the event. For more information, you can find a link below. For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.
Click here to visit the Lost and Found website