Grief Starts at the Moment of Diagnosis: A Program for Children and Families Coping with Illness

e6d04952ed1c64737969_130cae9fd10b4e0b1b3c_Corey.jpg
Corey Wisler manages Imagine's Coping With Loss program which includes in-home visits and support, support groups, and education. Credits: Mark DeHanes Photography
6752c7c512806dfa69d4_Teddy_with_bandage.jpg
e6d04952ed1c64737969_130cae9fd10b4e0b1b3c_Corey.jpg

When I ask people how they heard about the bereavement program at Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss, their response will often be very simple: “Everyone!”

That response fills me with hope. It tells me our community recognizes the emotional needs of grieving children. The culture of grief support for children has changed dramatically in the past thirty years since The Dougy Center, the nation’s first children’s grief support center, opened its doors in 1982. Adults know that death is a traumatic event for children, but that it does not need to leave a child traumatized, if they get support.

Many children who come to Imagine do so after their parent or sibling had been sick with a serious illness, so let’s back up a few weeks, months, or even years, to the moment the child learns that their parent or sibling is sick. Whether the diagnosis is chronic or terminal, the child’s life changed.

Sign Up for E-News

At this point in time do adults notice a child’s need for support? Do they look for a place for their child to meet other children coping with a family member’s illness?

Overwhelmingly, they don’t.

Grief starts at the moment of the diagnosis.

A diagnosis is a loss that is often invalidated or ignored by society. This is especially true for children. Yet, we know that grief is experienced by people of all ages. We also know that grief starts at the diagnosis.

Children experience a myriad of emotions when a family member is sick. Reactions to a family member’s diagnosis are individual, cannot be mapped out, and may change over time. The internal feelings that accompany loss due to illness are called grief, which can build up over time if they are not released.

Children who live with the illness of a close family member are at risk. A study conducted by the Research Institute of Child Development and Education (2012) found that children with chronically ill parents display more internalizing problem behaviors, such as depression, anxiety, and withdrawn behavior. They also have more daily hassles, stress, and lower GPA than do children with healthy parents.

Coping With Illness Program

Children who are grieving a loss due to illness need a place to express their internal feelings externally, or rather; they need a place to mourn. They also need support from their peers. Meeting other children who also are coping with loss due to illness is normalizing experiences that can help children feel less alone.

Imagine’s Coping with Illness (CWI) program is a free peer-support program for families facing life-altering illnesses. A life-altering illness is any diagnosis that significantly changes one’s day-to-day life. Our peer-support groups meet concurrently once a month on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. We have groups for children ages 3-18 and for parent-caregivers and parent-patients. All groups meet concurrently.

We welcome you to Imagine a World where children with ill parents or siblings get support from their peers, do not have to grieve alone, and do not lose years of their lives to unresolved grief. If you or someone you know could benefit from joining our Coping with Illness Program, please call us at 908-264-3100 or email info@imaginenj.org.

 

Imagine is a free year-round children’s grief support center that serves NJ children age 3-18 and young adults 18-30 who are grieving the death of a parent or sibling, or who are living with a parent of sibling with a life-altering illness. Imagine also provides grief education and training for thousands of teachers, parents, coaches, youth and other adults annually.  

 

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

17-Year-Old Academy for Information Technology Student Dies; GoFundMe Page Established to Help Family

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seventeen -year-old Fenov Pierre-Louis, a Roselle resident and student at Union County's Academy for Information Technology, lost his battle with stage 4 Nueroblastoma cancer this week.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. 

Diagnosed when he was a second grader, Fenov fought the disease for about half of his lifetime, ...

Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman, as county manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Businesses Report Thefts & More

July 18, 2018

July 11,2018 3:50 p.m.

A business located on the 100 block of Central Avenue reports being the victim of a theft. Unknown actor came into the business and removed $2,200.00 worth of property.

July 12, 2018 2:40 a.m.

Danny Burke, age 32, of Edison, NJ was arrested for driving while intoxicated pursuant a motor vehicle stop. Subject was arrested, processed and released to a ...

Drive for Autism Foundation to Hold 17th Annual Drive for Autism Golf Event

July 22, 2018

The Drive for Autism Foundation is pleased to announce that its annual golf event, Drive for Autism XVII will be held at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ on Sept. 17, 2018.

The Drive for Autism Golf Outing which has been held since 2002 has raised and distributed over $700,000 to local school programs.  Previous beneficiaries of grants were Morris Union Jointure Commission ...

Orange Cat Found in Westfield

Cat found Saturday in a storm drain on Watchung Fork. Text 908-821-7119 if you recognize him/her.

IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

The IRS plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version – would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. 

 

This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

Picking up the Pieces – The Benefits of Account Consolidation

Over a lifetime of investing we often have numerous accounts located at different financial firms.  Rarely are these accounts managed with a grand plan that takes into account all the individual pieces.   Account proliferation can be detrimental to your investment performance, increase your risk profile, and lighten your pocketbook.  

Account consolidation offers the ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Summer Storm Checklist

New Jersey gets its share of severe weather – and those closest to the coast are particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and high winds. Here are some things you can do to help improve the safety of your family and home before a storm hits:

·       Be informed. Find out where the nearest shelter is, and map out different routes you can take ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

Livingston Council Votes on Ordinance to Prohibit Vape Shops

July 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Concern about the increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products were among the reasons why the Livingston Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting “vape shops,” or any establishment that primarily sells “electronic devices, liquid nicotine or vapor products,” in the township’s retail commercial ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more