Tradition Tuesday – Jozy

Jozy & Mom

Jozy remembers dad’s love for music – he was a hobby musician and listened to many kinds of music. In particular, he loved The Who and Coldplay. Every year, the family would attend The Bridge School Benefit Concert, held by Neil Young to benefit children with special abilities. It was one of dad’s favorite events of the whole year.

blanket“Thank you so much!!!! We had such an amazing time at the Bridge School concert this year! Remembering being there over the years and enjoying the concert. Was really amazing!”

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.

All She Wanted was to be a Good Mom

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Jenni and her mom

“All she wanted was to be was a good mom – J”


 

 


Family Lives On supports the lifelong emotional wellbeing of children and teens whose mother or father has died. Please donate to help us serve more families and increase the awareness of the impact of grief and trauma on a child. Honor the past. Celebrate the present. Build the future. #givegriefwords

Bindi Irwin – A Finger Trigger

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Performing a dance inspired by her most memorable year, Bindi Irwin and partner Derek Hough chose a contemporary dance set to a cover of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.”

It would be so easy to assume that in the 9 years since her father died, Bindi is “over it” and has “moved on.” Look at her! She’s on TV, she’s dancing!

In this emotional tribute to her father, the cameras record a “grief burst” triggered by a small gesture of holding a finger. It’s simple actions, smells, sounds, sights and tastes that, often unexpectedly, re-ignite the grief of a child.

The feelings of grief, though painful, are natural. So are anger and joy. Allowing children and teens to feel the sadness is a part of healthy grieving. The challenge for adults is to let them feel it. Resist the well-intentioned desire to try to “fix them,” or help them “move on.” Support them. Companion them. Listen to them.

Sharing her life story, Bindi shows her father is forever a part of her, their relationship unending. Bindi moves forward.


Family Lives On supports the lifelong emotional wellbeing of children and teens whose mother or father has died. Please donate to help us serve more families and increase the awareness of the impact of grief and trauma on a child. Honor the past. Celebrate the present. Build the future. #givegriefwords

When a Wave Comes, Go Deep

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Originally posted by Humans of New York, October 1st, 2013

Humans of New York (HONY) originally posted 10/1/13

Humans of New York (HONY) originally posted 10/1/13

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“When a wave comes, go deep.”
“I think I’m going to need an explanation for that one.”
“There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that’s how you get through the wave.”

Why she can come up with such profound advice on the spot- she’s an educator! Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs is an author and internationally recognized education leader known for her work in curriculum mapping, curriculum integration, and developing 21st century approaches to teaching and learning.

This was originally posted on Humans of New York (HONY) Facebook page in October 2013, and the comments that accompanied it are an example of what happens organically among the followers:

HONY is all about stories. As a community, let’s try to ‘like’ comments from people sharing insights or similar experiences. There is nothing wrong with comments like ‘her hair is awesome,’ or ‘she looks much younger than 50.’ Those comments are kind, supportive, and appreciated. But I think it would make Humans of New York more interesting if we could work together to prioritize stories over opinions. If there’s anything I’ve learned from doing HONY these past five years, it’s that stories are always more interesting than opinions.

For that reason, below are the comments for the visual story “When a Wave Comes, Go Deep.”


Patrick Elliott Kelley “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”


Brooke Truax Her words are poetically beautiful and deep. However, after I read them, I couldn’t help but think: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” I blame Dori. 



Rebecca Quinn What she said reminds me of a quote from Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”


Ravi Keswani “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ― Bruce Lee


Reza Badei I live in San Diego & used to surf a lot. I can totally relate to this very wise advice and great analogy. What I would like to add is take a deep breath before going under the waves , stay loose & flexible (non rigid or you’ll break some serious bones) and let the wave or a set pass you by without you resisting them, otherwise you will , be clubbed and worse, suffocate … 

"Duck Diving" Photo credit: isurfnetwork.com

“Duck Diving” Photo credit: isurfnetwork.com


Kim O’Grady Simensen Anyone that has ever done much Pacific Coast body surfing knows that when you dive UNDER the wave (“go deep), you can minimize the turbulence and lessen the power of the wave that can easily throw you head first into the sand. I like the metaphor for troubled times and the advice of transformation. The challenge can be finding the strength to go to those uncomfortable and scary places. Although body surfing is a solo support, living is not. I wish the author had reminded us to surround yourself with friends and love – that also brings strength and lessens the power of negative forces in our life. Seek Joy!


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 isn’t therapy but it is therapeutic. Here’s how it works. 


DONATE The Tradition Program is entirely funded through charitable donations and services are provided at no cost to the families. Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here.

Happy Father’s Day, Mom

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Because sometimes Mom has to fill Dad’s shoes, Angel Soft unveils an emotional new ad in time for Father’s Day.


DONATE  This Father’s Day, honor Dad, or Mom, by supporting children and teens whose mother or father has died. Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization entirely funded through charitable donations. Our services are provided at no cost to the families. If you would like to help, please donate here.

Joy and Sadness – Stars of Inside Out Movie

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imgres-1Excitement builds for the June 19th release of “Inside Out” Pixar & Disney’s newest collaboration. The film stars the emotions of 11 year old Riley, a girl who’s recently moved to California from Minnesota. Featuring the voices of Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger) and Mindy Kaling (Disgust) in

“an animated fantasy that remains remarkably true to what scientists have learned about the mind, emotion and memory.”

Dacher Keltner, psychologist, University of California, Berkeley, and consultant to “Inside Out” is quoted in the NPR review:

“When you are in a fearful state, everything is imbued with threat and uncertainty and peril,” Keltner says. And when Riley is sad, he says, even her happy memories take on a bluish hue.

Joy (left, voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Pixar's Inside Out. The movie opens in theaters nationwide June 19. Disney/Pixar

Joy (left, voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith) catch a ride on the Train of Thought in Pixar’s Inside Out. The movie opens in theaters nationwide June 19.
Disney/Pixar

One of the film’s high points, though, is its depiction of sadness, Keltner says. In many books and movies for kids, he says, sadness is dismissed as a negative emotion with no important role.

In Inside Out, star-shaped Joy gets more screen time. But when the emotions are in danger of getting lost in the endless corridors of long-term memory, it is Sadness, downcast and shaped like a blue teardrop, who emerges as an unlikely heroine.

For kids, Keltner says, that makes “a nice statement about how important sadness is to our understanding of who we are.

We all have emotions, little voices inside our head. I can’t wait until June 19th to meet the emotions inside someone else’s head!

Amy Poehler as

Amy Poehler as “Joy” – Inside Out Movie

Phyllis Smith voices

Phyllis Smith “Sadness” the unlikely heroine

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/413980258/414149726” target=”_blank”>Listen to full NPR review here.


Celebrate Father’s Day by supporting children and teens whose mother or father has died. DONATE  Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization entirely funded through charitable donations. Our services are provided at no cost to the families. If you would like to help, please donate here.


Support for Students Who Have Lost a Parent: The Family Lives On Foundation

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Posted May 27, 2015 by Erin Flynn Jay in Featured Stories

BoyholdingsoccerballMore than two million children in the United States are grieving the death of a parent.

“When a student’s relative or loved one has died, teachers wonder, perhaps worry, what do I say? Out of our own personal discomfort, or with good intentions, they often say nothing at all,” said Christine Cavalieri, executive director of the Family Lives On Foundation.

“Saying nothing says a lot, particularly to a child who has experienced the death of a parent,” she continued.

Losing a parent puts children at risk for mental health, behavior issues

Studies have shown that bereaved children are between two and three times more likely to experience mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. As they grow up, they’re also more likely to engage in high-risk behavior and have criminal records.

However, these risks can be lessened when children and teens maintain an emotional connection to their late parent. Finding healthy ways to adapt to loss is key to providing bereavement support.

Shakespeare said it best: ‘Give sorrow words’

Cavalieri said that people’s discomfort with grief makes them attempt to ignore it and hope it will pass quickly. As a result, families — especially children — often suffer alone and in silence without sufficient understanding and support of relatives and teachers.

“It is normal and necessary to understand and grieve the death of a loved one. And the process does not end with the funeral,” said Cavalieri. “For a child, it continues their entire adolescence when grief is often re-ignited by developmental milestones.”

Family Lives On serves children and teens ages three to 18, regardless of race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status or cause of the parent’s death. The non-profit organization supports the lifelong emotional well-being of children and teens whose mother or father has died and is entirely funded through charitable donations.

Continuing traditions can help children after a parent has died

Grounded in research and clinically-identified needs for healthy bereavement, Family Lives On’s Tradition Program makes it possible for children to continue activities or celebrate traditions that they used to do with their mother or father.

“We don’t do it with them, we just provide everything the family needs — tickets, ingredients, crafts, and so on. And we do that every year, for each child in the family, until they turn 18 and graduate out of the program,” said Cavalieri. “Then we ask, how will you do this for yourself, for the rest of your life? Because the relationship never ends. Your mom is always your mom.”

How educators can support grieving students

Cavalieri said that educators should understand how family traditions provide a natural context for communication and connection, and help children to maintain a healthy emotional bond. “Celebrating the life story is a powerful holistic approach that focuses on moving forward and the future. It isn’t therapy but it is therapeutic,” she said.

When educators provide support for these grieving children and their families, they are more likely to move from being survivors to thrivers. “The vision is that, someday, the practice of keeping traditions alive after the death of a parent will become mainstream,”said Cavalieri. “And no child will grieve in silence, or alone.”

Bereavement support resources for teachers

For comprehensive resources to assist students coping with parental loss, Cavalieri recommends the Coalition to Support Grieving Children. Both national teachers’ unions are members of the coalition.

“This is a user-friendly site that provides practical, accessible information about the issue of childhood grief and how best to support a grieving child,” she said. “This online resource uses a dynamic multimedia approach to present current best practices for addressing grief at school as well as supplemental information for parents supporting their own children.”


YOU CAN HELP! Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization entirely funded through charitable donations. Our services are provided at no cost to the families. If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here.


Erin Flynn Jay is a writer, editor and publicist, working mainly with authors and small businesses since 2001. Erin’s interests also reach into the educational space, where her affinity for innovation spurs articles about early childhood education and learning strategies. She is based in Philadelphia.


A Mom’s Fantasy vs. A Mom’s Reality – by ScaryMommy.com

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boy-on-beach

This, too funny, and absolutely accurate, post elicited more than one chuckle.

As a mother, you have expectations. Expectations of what your child will experience, understand, love and hate growing up. As moms, we set the bar high, and have a tendency to have unrealistic expectations of our children. We tend to forget they are kids, not miniature adults. It’s the simple things in life that bring smiles to their faces. A balloon. A chocolate ice cream cone. A kitchen dance party. Don’t get me wrong; I still take mine to the science center. I just try to accept the fact that the first thing they’ll talk about when they get in the car is who got to press the elevator button. A taste of fantasy vs. reality from a mom’s perspective.”

Trip to the Museum

Mom’s Fantasy: We are going to meander through the museum, look at the dinosaurs, and tour the butterfly exhibit.

Reality: The kids sprint through the exhibits, tell you it’s boring, but pop a squat for over 20 minutes at the T-Rex exhibit because they like the fake blood. Lunch consists of overpriced hot dogs and chips.

Trip to the Beach

Mom’s Fantasy: We’ll take a relaxing walk down by the beach, look for shells and watch the sunset.

Reality: Your son picks up a condom, your daughter steps on a large stick and now they are both ridiculously hangry, so you leave before sunset.

Read the ENTIRE post here

Admit it, we’ve all over-compensated, overspent, over-prepared and over-thought, at one time or another. And with the very best of intentions. But –

“It’s the simple things in life that bring smiles to their faces.”

It’s also the simple, seeming mundane, every day things that children and teens miss most. The death of a parent changes everything.

Children go through so many developmental stages and it is important for the adults in their lives to understand, and remember, that it is a life-long process of adapting to the death of their mother or father.

Family Lives On supports hundreds of grieving children and teens by helping them continue traditions they used to do with their Mom or Dad. Traditions provide a more natural context for intra-family communication and connection as well as giving permission and encouragement to go on living even after a parent has died.

Read the ENTIRE post here


DONATE  Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization entirely funded through charitable donations. Our services are provided at no cost to the families. If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here.

#GiveGriefWords: This American Life Podcast: Birds & Bees

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5192015 blog siblings

A trifecta of challenging conversations adults have with children is the topic of a recent episode of This American Life: Birds & Bees. I found the entire podcast thought-provoking, particularly the discussion of racism and discrimination. But the purpose of this blog post is to focus on the final section (from the 40 minute mark) on death. To listen to the entire podcast, use this link.

“While it’s hard to explain to kids how babies come into the world, it might be harder to explain that people leave the world too — especially to a kid whose mom or dad or brother or sister has died. There are grief counseling centers all over the U.S. that cater specifically to children. Reporter Jonathan Goldstein visited one in Salt Lake City.”

Nancy says children just grieve differently than adults, especially little children. They grieve in fits and starts. They can’t focus on it for very long. And grief is more physical for them.

They’ll act out their anger, maybe kick a door, which is the reason for the volcano room at The Sharing Place. They might also regress, suddenly using baby talk or sucking their thumbs. And if they’re potty trained, they might become untrained.

They’re also magical thinkers. I heard stories of kids who were afraid to go to sleep because grandma went to sleep and didn’t wake up. One little boy wandered away from his mom at the emergency room saying, I’m looking for Dad. We left him here last time. Another boy said he just wanted to die for a few days so he can go to heaven and teach his little sister how to ride a tricycle.

Children also re-grieve. That is, with every new stage of development, they experience their grief anew. And with every milestone– when their braces come off, when they get their driver’s license, when they graduate– they’ll inevitably think, I wish my mom was here.

And given all of this, the thought behind The Sharing Place and other centers like it is that kids can help one another in a way that adults perhaps can’t help them. That’s why they’re brought together in these groups. In short, kids speak the same language.

To listen to the entire podcast, use this link.

The Sharing Place is one of many grief support centers available nationwide, to locate support near you, please visit the National Alliance for Grieving Children.

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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 isn’t therapy but it is therapeutic. Here’s how it works. If you know a family whose mother or father has died, please encourage them to enroll here.


DONATE The Tradition Program is entirely funded through charitable donations. Our services are provided at no cost to the families. Family Lives On Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If you would like to help support the grieving children and families we serve, please donate here.

– Chris Cavalieri, Executive Director, Family Lives On

Tradition Tuesday – Eliana and Emma

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Before he died, Eliana and Emma’s Dad would often take them to a nearby high school so they could all ride together. Sometimes they would play tennis, too. To make sure they had lots of energy, they would pack a small bag with cheese and crackers, and some water, to refuel.

What did your family enjoy the most about the Tradition program?

The fact that my girls can continue to celebrate something so special in the midst of such sorrow. Their happiness is of utmost importance. The girls were able to recollect specific memories/places we shared with Louis. Every part of this experience has been amazing. We have inadequate words to express the gratitude in our hearts. We LOVE Family Lives On! – Mom


DONATE to 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.


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.  Here’s how it works.

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