One of my Favorite Things to Do

 

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In my newly adopted home, Traverse City, Michigan, is a community center named Michael’s Place, whose function is to welcome and care for individuals and families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  My dear friend, Chris Dennos, established Michaels Place over 15 yrs ago and it has grown from a small nucleus serving children of affected families to a thriving community offering grief classes and support groups for all ages, as well as  serving area schools whose students and faculty have experienced a collective loss.

They also sponsor an event 4 times a year, Create-A-Keepsake, when families are invited to bring in their loved ones clothing or other memorabilia and work with volunteers to create a pillow or stuffed animal from these items.  I’ve latched on to this event like a barnacle, not letting go.  The process of working with a child ( and/or parent) to conceive and execute one of these keepsakes is a slow and steady one, and allows for a lot of story-telling, listening, laughing and compassion. Every time I volunteer at these events I come home filled with gratitude.

I’m pictured above late 2015 with 4 keepsake bears made for  a family of kids who had lost their mom a few months before.  Each bear was made out of a pair of her pajamas.

Peace.

 

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8 thoughts on “One of my Favorite Things to Do

  1. Meg, this post made me cry. What a lovely thing for you to do for those children! I still have a doll that has a wig made of my mother’s hair. I treasure it. I think sometimes, Maybe one day scientists will be able to clone people from their hair, and they could bring back to earth my wonderful mother. I know that’s a weird thought. Your bears are just so darling – I’m sure the family appreciated your creative effort.

    • Pam! Thanks for reaching out!! Boy do I get it. Those are not such weird thoughts to me. I lost my mom last year and I have “magical thinking” all the time since her passing. Somehow this process helps me.
      I hope your son’s wedding was terrific. Best!

  2. Meg, I totally understand your feelings of gratitude and wanting to reach out to grieving families. I am a hospice volunteer and sometimes I think I get more out of it than the families I serve. It’s very rewarding and humbling. The families are lucky to have you on their side. Love

    • Kris. Somewhere in the space between joy and sadness feels true to me always. Working with others to help them process loss is for me a way I can manage my own. It’s true connection, isn’t it? Love you.

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