This is Her LIFE Song

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1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. Metastasis occurs when cancerous cells travel to a vital organ and that is what threatens life.

2. Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, typically the bones, liver, lungs and brain.

3. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

4. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.

5. About 6% to 10% of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis.

6. Early detection does not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur 5, 10 or 15 years after a person’s original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms.

7. 20% to 30% of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer.

8. Young people, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

9. Like early stage breast cancer, there are different types of metastatic breast cancer.

10. Treatment choices are guided by breast cancer type, location and extent of metastasis in the body, previous treatments and other factors.

11. Metastatic breast cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some will live for many years.

12. There are no definitive prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique.

13. To learn more about National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on October 13 and to access resources specifically for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, visit www.mbcn.org.

(click HERE to download a flyer from http://www.mbcn.org you can print and distribute )


Donate to support children and teens whose mother or father has died through the Tradition Program.  Honor the past. Celebrate the present. Build the future. #givegriefwords


This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

An Open Letter to Every Kid Who Has Lost a Parent

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Originally posted by The Odyssey Online. Written by Lauren Seago

Written by Lauren Seago, reposted with her kind permission. Originally appeared on The Odyssey

A letter to tackle different aspects of losing a parent.

Dear Sweet Child,

First off, I just wanted to start by saying you are strong, even when it feels like the world is crumbling beneath your feet.

Secondly, I wanted to say how sorry I am for the loss of your parent in your most crucial years of needing love and words of encouragement. A piece of your world was stripped away from you, and that will never be replaced. Which I know personally, stings so deep.

As you continue to grow throughout your life, I wanted to address some aspects that I have learned on my own are not the easiest to conquer; that in most cases people do not understand.

1. It’s okay to cry, on the real: Forget those people who tell you crying is for the weak. You go ahead and cry; you probably need it.

2.Every holiday is like ripping a Band-Aid off over and over: Your family will laugh about memories from the past when everyone was all together. Reminiscing what your parent was like, their favorite desserts, or how they would laugh a certain way. With a smile plastered across your face, you’ll nod as family members tell you stories and you’ll think about what you would give to have them there with you.

3. Graduating, moving away to college, first date, first real job, any big event will cause a sting of pain: In the moment, you are so happy and excited as these new chapters open up. But later on, once alone, you think about how awesome it would be to have them carrying boxes into your dorm room, questioning your first date, looking out into the crowd at graduation, and seeing them with a camera recording you with a thumbs up. You’ll get chills as you think about how different life would be with them around.

4. You question everything and ask over and over why?: Whether it was a natural cause of death or some accident, you question everything you know and what you believe in (if you believe in anything). You will replay moments in your head questioning your actions asking what if? But if anything, the re-occuring question is why? An answer that is one to be continued.

5. You will be jealous of kids who have both their parents: You will see kids who have both parents and something inside you will stir; a sense of resentment. Because at one time; that was you and the world wasn’t perfect but it was lovely and everything you knew was great.

6. Watching your other parent heal is one of the hardest things you will ever watch: Though extremely challenging and frustrating at times, watching your parent cry to the point of exhaustion will be really hard, but the grieving process does get easier. So hang onto that small nugget of gold.

7. Family traditions will never be the same: Summers of camping and spending endless days on the water, baking rum cakes together, Saturday mornings spent watching cartoons just become a memory that you hold so close to your heart.

8. You become extremely protective of your siblings and whoever makes fun of them for losing a parent: No one messes with your squad but especially when someone brings up how you lost your parent; you go into protective mode. Just remember to breathe and walk in love. Kill ’em with kindness.

9. Heartbreaks hurt just as much, if not more: You will want that one parent to embrace you in their arms with snot running down your nose and tears streaming. You will just want to hear them say, You’ll be all right, kid. I love you and that’s all you need.”

10. The word “sorry” becomes numb to you: People don’t know your story and openly they don’t know what to do besides say sorry. After awhile, you smirk and softly whisper, “Thanks.” The word sorry no longer has meaning after you have heard it over a million times.

11. Pictures and old family videos are possibly one of God’s greatest gift to you: One day you will come across a tub filled with pictures, and as you sit on the basement floor looking through them, you’ll start to cry. Your mind will take you back to that exact moment and right there alone on the cold floor, you encounter a special moment of what life was like then.

12. Death will change you and your outlook on life: Seemingly the small stuff isn’t so bad anymore. You stop complaining and you really take a check of what is important in your life.

13. You wonder if they’re proud of you: When no one was looking and you did the right thing, or when you ace that test you studied so hard for. You stop to think I wonder

14. Hearing old stories from relatives and friends is a great thing: Shocked and trying not to laugh, you can’t believe what your uncle just told you about the one night they all snuck out and crashed a car. These stories will warm your heart, take the time to listen to them.

15. Lastly, you grow in ways you never thought possible: There will be moments where your whole family will be together and you’ll think to yourself how in a weird way everyone has a quirk of that parent. Then looking at your own heart, you realize how much you’ve grown.

As you continue to grow, just remember wherever you are in life, that parent is right there with you, cheering you on and flashing you thumbs up as you graduate throughout the stages of life.

All my love and tears,

A girl who lost her dad

Lauren E. Seago in 500 Words On on Aug 19, 2015

Authored by Lauren Seago

Author’s photo (Lauren Seago)


Be a pioneer in the fight against the debilitating trauma of childhood grief, DONATE to support children and teens whose mother or father has died.

Family Lives On is tremendously grateful to Lauren Seago for her kind permission to repost this blog in it’s entirety. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @llaureneunice

Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Tradition Program is entirely funded through charitable donations.  If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here. To learn more about the Tradition Program, please use this link.

 

Sheryl Sandberg, Finding Strength in Membership

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Kelly Corrigan, in her moving video essay “Transcending: Words on Women and Strength” describes how, when faced with adversity, “we will rally around, and hold each other up.” The comments to Sheryl’s post from so many other members share personal experiences, support and learning. I’m overwhelmed by the powerful human connection made possible by a virtual medium.

Late last night Sheryl Sandberg commented on a beautiful post Laura Wellington wrote a about the challenges faced by the members of “The Exclusive Club Sheryl Sandberg Never Wanted to Join“.

Laura Wellington is right – this is a club that no one wants to join. Laura, I am sorry for your loss – and my heart goes out to the many women around the world who have experienced this loss too. I learned from your advice and I am sharing it here so others can learn too. My condolences to you – and my gratitude.

Laura quotes the numbers of others facing the price of this club membership:

There are approximately 29,000 other women under the age of 49 and living in the United States that can claim the same. They make up an exclusive club none of us ever wanted to become part of. We became members anyway and so did our kids.

And shares wisdom:

1. Take time to grieve…

2. It is important that your children know Dave, even if he can’t be around to share.

3. Establish traditions that keep Dave in your children’s lives throughout their youth. 

4. Kids need time alone with you and you with them.

5. Others will assume that you and your kids are feeling the loss exactly like them.

6. Take baby steps into your future and realize that you will make mistakes along the way.

7. Cry when you feel like it.

8. Dave was an important chapter in your life but not the end of your story.

9. Dave’s love for you and yours for him that will allow you to love again.

10. Finally, honor his life by living yours well and teach your children to do the same.

 (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Family Lives On supports the lifelong emotional wellbeing of children and teens whose mother or father has died. Available anywhere in the United States, Family Lives On serves all children & teens ages 3-18, regardless of race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status or cause of parent’s death.

The Tradition Program is grounded in research and a number of clinically identified needs in bereaved children. Traditions provide a more natural context for communication and connection, and help children to maintain a healthy emotional bond.  Here’s how it works.

If you know a family whose mother or father has died, please encourage them to enroll here.


Donate to Support the Tradition Program

Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Tradition Program is entirely funded through charitable donations.  If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here.

To learn more about the Tradition Program, please use this link.

When Grief Comes to School: Back to School Following Loss

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When Grief Comes to School: Back to School Following Loss

Dr. Malina Spirito, Clinical Director, Supporting Kidds

As the summer quickly speeds by and the familiar “Back to School” jingles appear on the television, grieving families are faced with yet another hurdle to clear in their journey through loss. Going back to school after experiencing a major loss or death can feel daunting, even for the most diligent and eager student. As the Clinical Director of Supporting Kidds, The Center for Grieving Children and Their Families, I regularly encounter children and families grappling with the challenges of managing school demands in the face of grief.

Consider these thoughts as you prepare for the back to school season:

  1. Kids do best when they know what to expect.Returning to school represents, for many children, a change in routine. This transition can be a challenge for anyone, but especially for the grieving child who is grappling with relocating a sense of safety and predictability in a world that has been, in many ways, turned upside down. Caregivers can best support grieving children by aiming to bring back a sense of routine and predictability to the child’s world. Begin preparing your child several weeks in advance for the upcoming change in schedule. Be sure to remind your child of the plans regarding day-to-day needs and tasks, such as:

    – Set the routine for bed time, wake time, showers, baths, and preparing school clothes.
    – Establish who will be responsible for waking the child and preparing him/her for the school day.
    – Determine who will pick the child up from school each day.
    – Create a calendar to manage sports, activities, and due dates for projects and tests.

  2. Recognize the challenges.Bereavement can have profound impact on physical and cognitive functioning, making it difficult for a person to focus, concentrate, and follow-through on tasks. For school-aged children, grief can certainly impact academic performance. Be mindful of the wear-and- tear that grief has on the body and support your child in breaking tasks down into smaller components, taking regular breaks, and asking for help when needed. Remind your child that challenges related to decreased concentration and energy are temporary and guide your child in establishing healthy coping tools to help manage these stressors.
  1. Practice open, healthy communications.While most caregivers and children would agree on the desire to succeed academically, they often have vastly different ideas about what this success should look like in terms of when/how tasks are completed. Practice using “I-statements” and empathic responses to engage your child in healthy dialogue while establishing expectations for school performance. Be clear about your expectations, while remaining open to engaging your child’s thoughts and ideas about how to meet those expectations.

    For added pointers on healthy communication, come to Supporting Kidds to peruse our newly updated Lending Library. We have great parenting resources and our clinical staff is always happy to make recommendations!

  2. Engage a wide system of support.Because grief is not a linear and finite process, it is not easy to predict when, if, and for how long grief-related challenges will occur. Because of this level of uncertainty, I advise grieving families, and the professionals who work with them, to be mindful of the potential for academic challenges and to make appropriate plans in anticipation of potential challenges down the line.

    Be sure to contact your child’s teachers and counselors before the start of school to notify them of the loss and how your child is adjusting. Encourage school personnel to be in touch with you, as well as any therapists or counselors your child may be working with, to ensure everyone is providing the child with the same information. Supporting Kidds is happy to meet with school teachers and staff to help establish a system of support for grieving children as they return to school.

    Caregivers and teachers can work together to establish an academic support system for the grieving student to counterbalance any declines in academic performance. Teachers and school counselors can work with a family to develop plans for tutoring and homework help to aid the grieving child.

  3. Model patience and flexibility, for your child and yourself.Remember that you are also grieving. Research and experience informs us that one of the greatest predictors of a child’s adjustment following a loss is based on having a high- functioning caregiver. So model healthy self-care and patience with yourself! It is important for your child to know that you are doing all you can to ensure your ability to stay safe, healthy, and available for your child.

Please call us for information about our bereavement support groups for children and their caregivers, or to discuss individual/family therapy.

We want to make sure that no child grieves alone.

Supporting Kidds

1213 Old Lancaster Pike

Hockessin, DE 19707

http://www.supportingkidds.org

302-235-5544