6% of children under age 18 will experience the death of a parent. This does not include those who will lose a brother, sister, or other close relative. Willow House’s mission is to provide support for grieving children, families, schools, and communities. A Willow House group is probably not exactly what you may imagine. It is not, simply, a group of sad children or teens or adults who are sitting around crying. Of course, there is sadness, there is crying and so much more. There are animated discussions about coping with the empty chair at the Thanksgiving table – the absence of their loved one that first holiday, how to deal with the sharp pains of grief that come unexpectedly while in school or at work or in the grocery store, how to parent grieving children who are confused and in such deep pain, how to have hope for their future…
They share so many questions and wonder aloud how to deal with all of the other losses related to the death of their loved one…when Mom was the bedtime story reader, when Dad was the team coach, when a sister was a best buddy and playmate, and when a baby brother gave such big hugs and “made us all laugh…”
This is what Willow House groups look like. They are comforting one another, expressing excruciating, complicated feelings, sometimes laughing, offering support and friendship, and sharing their stories. Their stories that are valued and listened to by other group members of all ages, with such profound care and grace.
For nearly 18 years, Willow House has served thousands of Chicago-area children, teens, adults, and families grieving the death of a loved one, including survivors of 9/11 and those grieving a death from suicide. Thousands more have been served in schools and the community at large through our outreach, education, and referral programs.
Thanks to donations, as well as corporate and foundation support, Willow House services are provided at no cost.
Bee The Swarm will be partnering with Willow House, where ALL revenue earned for the duration of the campaign will be donated directly to Willow House to help support their mission, and continue to provide this amazing support to families in need.