Since You’re Gone
The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens
The Garden provides support to grieving young people and their families following the death of someone close, including parents, siblings, other family members or friends. We run programs and host discussion groups geared toward helping young people identify and share their feelings, and to help them begin the healing process. Parents and guardians meet separately for a chance to discuss their own concerns as the family unit navigates the grief journey.
The Garden runs two programs annually at its Northampton location, an 8-week session in the fall and a 10-week session in the spring. In addition, our services are increasingly accessible through area schools via guidance offices and other programmatic or incident-specific counseling efforts within each school or district.
The Garden offers this service free of charge, but it is not a free program to run. We rely 100% on donations from individuals, businesses and a variety of development activities. The Garden has served over 400 families since it was founded in 1998 by Barbara Weiner-Dubeck.
To learn more, contact Shelly Lenn at The Garden at (413) 582-5312 or email us HERE.
My Time in The Garden
By Danielle Jez
I came to The Garden because my dad died in a car accident when I was 11 years old. One of my aunt’s friends suggested that we try it. (She later became one of my professors who helped me with my senior psychology seminar project on programs for grieving children, inspired by The Garden).
My initial experience at The Garden was with my two younger brothers and my mom. I remember playing games, sharing stories about our lost loved ones, having a potluck where we brought our loved ones’ favorite dishes, doing different art therapies (I didn’t know that was what they were at the time), and singing at the closing of the meetings. We did so many different things there, and I met so many people who I could relate to.
One of the biggest things I took away from The Garden came from one of the small group meetings. In the group were the facilitator, my brother Alex, another girl our age, her brother, and me. We were asked to talk about the way that our loved ones died and I will never forget that conversation. The other family had lost their parent to cancer. It was a long, hard battle that was difficult for them to watch. Our dad was taken from us suddenly. My brother and I felt that the way we lost our dad was easier than the way that they had lost their parent, while they felt the opposite—that it would be harder to lose someone suddenly. I thought it was really interesting that we felt that way.
I think those group meetings helped me more than anything else, because we all had different perspectives on the same situations. I would encourage anyone who loses a parent, sibling, or caregiver to participate in The Garden. Being around people who are at all different stages in the grieving process was really helpful for me—I was able to see that sometimes, even though you might not be okay, you will be.