Growing Through Grief

Jun 25, 2024

Jasmine Kendrick on her fourth birthday with her mother, April Jackson.

Social worker Jasmine Kendrick lost her mother at just four years old. She remembers it was “a confusing upbringing.”

Adults tiptoed around her, afraid of upsetting her or her grandmother. She saw others seem to just put the loss behind them and close the door, and she wondered why she still hurt years later. She was embarrassed, too. She didn’t want to be “the girl whose mom died.”

Today, as a children’s grief counselor, Jasmine could tell you children are cyclical grievers. They will essentially re-grieve a loss at each stage of their life, just as she did. But young Jasmine didn’t know any of that. She just thought she was broken.

“I don’t think I knew what grief was until maybe high school – like the actual word ‘grief.’ I had to do a lot of picking up pieces by myself,” she reflected.

Jasmine Kendrick, Grief Care Counselor

That’s why the work she does today is so important to her. She helps bring understanding and resilience to youth who have experienced the chaos of loss, and are feeling lost and alone.

“My biggest give back with what I do here at Angela Hospice, is to make sure that children do not have to endure that by themselves,” she said. “That you do not have to go through this alone.”

Jasmine is now in the midst of planning Camp Monarch, a two-day camp for grieving kids ages 5-12 to be held at Madonna University, on August 1 and 2. Jasmine was elated with the positive response campers had at last year’s Camp Monarch. She understands how much it means to the kids who participate, because she knows what it would have meant to her as a child.

“I wouldn’t have felt as isolated and alone,” she said. “I would have known that everything I’m feeling is natural, rather than something I need to be fighting against.”

Camp Monarch is run by Angela Hospice’s licensed social workers and music therapists, who build creative and therapeutic activities into the camp that are as fun as they are meaningful. They’ll share tools for coping with the feelings of grief, and be available for counseling and support as needed.

Jasmine provides children’s grief counseling free of charge as part of the Angela Grief Care team, and Camp Monarch is a way to see many of her young clients interact in a fun and engaging setting.

“They can all come together and be with one another, and they can just experience other children who are dealing with the same thing as them,” Jasmine said. “So they know that they’re not alone in this process. And that makes all the difference in the world.”

CAMP MONARCH IS OFFERED FREE-OF-CHARGE THROUGH DONOR SUPPORT. TO SPONSOR A CAMPER, GIVE NOW AT ANGELAHOSPICE.ORG/CAMPMONARCH/GIVE/

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Tips for Grieving Kids

  • Your feelings are valid.
  • It’s normal to grieve.
  • It’s OK to talk about it.
  • You can ask others for help.

Tips for Adults

  • Meet them where they’re at.
  • Let them feel what they need to feel.
  • Be present.
  • Provide consistency.

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