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Easing the Pain of Father's Day Without Dad, Highmark Caring Place Helps Children Cope With the Death of a Parent
Date:6/1/2009

PITTSBURGH, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Since one child in 20 will have a parent die before he or she graduates from high school, many young people will experience a Father's Day without dad on June 21. For children and families in need of additional support to help ease the pain at this time, the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, offers programs and services as well as online tools at no cost.

"Many families celebrate and express appreciation to their dads on Father's Day, but those whose father has died experience many difficult challenges and emotions," said Terese Vorsheck, director of the Highmark Caring Place. "This special day may heighten the feelings of sadness and pain that accompany the death of a parent, and the Caring Place is here to help."

The Highmark Caring Place offers these suggestions for children and families who are dealing with the death of a father:

  • Realize that the anticipation of the day is often as difficult - or even more difficult - than the holiday itself.
  • Talk about your grief and the person who died. Share your feelings with people you trust. Say the name of the person who died and invite others to do the same.
  • Embrace your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after someone dies. Allowing time for family members to share their memories, and laughing and crying together, helps keep the person who died a part of these special days.

"We encourage families to talk about the upcoming day in advance," said Vorsheck. "Deciding how to spend the day ahead of time might help families avoid getting caught off-guard by emotions that are difficult to anticipate. Sharing your feelings with one another, along with a little bit of planning, can help you find ways of honoring and remembering someone you love very much, but who is no longer with you."

At four Caring Place locations in Pennsylvania - in Pittsburgh, Erie, Lemoyne and Warrendale - peer support groups and referral services are offered for children and their families who are coping with the death of a loved one. Adult telephone support and educational programs and resources are provided for grieving children and families, while consultation services and educational presentations and resources are available for schools and other professionals who work with children in the community.

The Caring Place has also created a series of reference tools that are available in print or online to help families and professionals who are trying to find answers to questions concerning grief. Topics include:

To secure copies of any of the print publications, visit the Highmark Caring Place online at www.highmarkcaringplace.com.

The Caring Place is a signature partner of Highmark Healthy High 5, an initiative of the Highmark Foundation, and is also supported by community contributions.

For more information about the Highmark Caring Place, contact 1-888-224-HOPE (4673) or visit www.highmarkcaringplace.com.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

Visit http://www.highmarkcaringplace.com/pdf/cp_story_carrie.pdf to read Carrie's story, a firsthand account of a child who attended the Caring Place and lost her father.


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SOURCE Highmark Caring Place
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