A labor of love
When Gerard’s House grief support groups were in-person, they were centered around a shared experience of grief, using modalities such as play, talking circles and art. On virtual platforms, the felt sense of connection in grief support groups is sometimes more difficult to create, attention spans are shorter and, perhaps most challenging of all, privacy is often limited (with people walking around in the background on one group member’s screen while another group member is sharing about their person who died, for example).
One solution to all of these problems has been partnering with arts organizations and other collaborative partners to create activity packets that we deliver to our families’ homes. In groups, we do activities together using the delivered supplies.
In the above photo, two kiddos in GriefConnections support groups are enjoying donated quilts from activity bags thatGerard’s House staff delivered to their homes in Espanola in November 2020.Their mom shared that she didn’t know what was going to be in the bags we dropped off, but: “Thank you, they’re so excited! You truly made their day! My sons are in the group because both their grandma and their dad passed away, a month apart. Grandma was a seamstress who made them a blanket every Christmas! Their eyes lit up when they saw they each had their own homemade blanket!”
During their online groups, kids snuggle in quilts lovingly handmade uniquely for them by the New Mexico Quilters Guild. Coordinating donated items for activity bags, putting bags together and delivering them to families across northern New Mexico has been a labor of love for Gerard's House staff, interns and volunteers. This is just one story to illustrate the healing effect of these deliveries for grieving kids and families.