The first thing I must explain to you is that I didn’t inherit the photogenic gene that my siblings were born with, so you won’t see a lot of pictures of me. I need to go to one of those glamor shots places where they make you look like an Important Person. Cee recently made me into a poster. That was kind of fun. I’m the one on the left, in the red shirt. My friend is a curious alpaca with whom I shared a nose rub.
Almost nine years ago I was looking for a new volunteer opportunity. I was mulling over different options when a friend suggested something that was completely out of my comfort zone. It was an organization called The Dougy Center, and the opportunity was working with grieving children and their families.
The whole idea scared the pants off of me. Grief? Children? What do I know about either one? What if I wrecked their fragile egos and scarred them for life? But somehow the idea called to me. I signed up for their training and managed to survive it. Doing grief work means you have to look at your own life experiences. You have to be pretty secure in yourself to be able to handle other people’s stories. I made it through training and was honored that they thought I was good enough to become part of their team.
Working With Grieving Children and Families
Working with grieving families has changed me in so many ways, and all for the better. Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of children between the ages of 5 and 18 and their guardians (surviving parent, grandparent, etc.).
- I’ve learned about how to be more compassionate, how to open my heart and be there for people when their world is swirling is a confusing fog of grief.
- I’ve learned how to listen without judgement, something that is not easy to do.
- I’ve learned patience that I never thought possible.
- And I’ve learned how to get glitter out of my hair after an arts and crafts session with an exuberant six year old.
I want to do this work for the rest of my life.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I loved this work and wanted to do it for the rest of my life, but I wanted to do it with adults, and in a paid position. I wasn’t sure how I would accomplish that, but the dream stayed alive inside of me. I couldn’t act on it, though, because Cee’s illness kept me tied to my day job. We needed the money for medical bills.
I found the Grief Recovery Institute, and signed up for their training. I had checked them out thoroughly beforehand to make sure that their ideas and philosophies were comparable with everything I knew to benefit grievers from my years with The Dougy Center. That’s my gold standard.
The training through GRI was incredible. Life altering. Wonderful. I learned new tools that help grieving people through their grief, enabling them to move beyond into a more complete and satisfying life.
So there you have it. I’ll be 66 in November, and I’m transitioning into a new life of service that excites me, that is my passion. I’m the luckiest person in the world!
Many blessings to you and plenty of virtual hugs. Contact me if you ever need a heart with two ears.
Contact Chris at Chris@Cee-Chris.com