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Highmark Caring Place Resources Help Children Deal With Death of Parent During Mother's Day and Father's Day
Date:5/6/2008

PITTSBURGH, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With Mother's Day and Father's Day just around the corner, many of us look forward to time spent with family, or to taking the opportunity to express appreciation to our parents, wherever they might live. For a child whose mother or father has died, however, Mother's Day or Father's Day can be especially difficult. Although we don't typically think of Mother's Day or Father's Day as "holidays," they are special days within the year around which there are traditions and memories. For those who have had a parent die, the special day may intensify the already hard feelings of sadness and pain.

"It's important to talk as a family about the upcoming day," said Terese Vorsheck, Director, Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents, and Their Families. "Deciding how you would like to spend the day ahead of time might help you from getting caught off-guard by the 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."

The Highmark Caring Place also offers these suggestions for helping your family cope with the death of a mother or father:

-- Realize that the anticipation of the holiday 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.

In addition, the Caring Place has created a series of publications that is available in print or online to help families and professionals who are trying to find answers to questions like these. The brochures are filled with practical suggestions to use and adapt to the unique circumstances of individual grieving children and families."

The series was created as the result of listening to grieving families talk about the themes that would be most beneficial to them. Additionally, professionals have indicated a need for these types of materials.

The series of reference tools now available at no cost in print and online include the following topics:

-- Saying Goodbye: Preparing a Child for a Funeral or Cremation

-- Responding to Children in Grief and the Questions They Ask

-- Questions Grieving Children Ask

-- The Grief of Preschoolers and the Questions They Ask

-- Questions Grieving Teens Ask

-- The Grieving Child in the Classroom

-- Is There Anything I Can Do? (for teens)

-- Is There Anything I Can Do? (for adults)

-- Caring for Yourself as You Care for Your Grieving Child

-- Coping with Grief at the Holidays

-- Telling the Children: Talking with a Child When a Parent Is Diagnosed

with a Terminal Illness

-- Creating Connections When a Parent Is Diagnosed with a Terminal Illness

To secure copies of any of the print publications, visit the Highmark Caring Place online at http://www.highmarkcaringplace.com or call 1-888-224-HOPE (4673).

In addition to the print pieces, the Highmark Caring Place offers peer support groups and referral services for children and their families who are coping with the death of a loved one.

At three Caring Place locations in Pennsylvania - in Pittsburgh, Erie and Lemoyne (Cumberland County) - programs and services are offered at no cost. The Caring Place is a signature partner of Highmark Healthy High 5, an initiative of the Highmark Foundation. In addition, the Caring Place is supported by community contributions. The children and families are also supported by trained volunteers from the community.

The Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, provides peer support groups, referral services, adult telephone support, and educational programs and resources for grieving children and families. In addition, consultation services, as well as educational presentations and resources, are available for schools and other professionals in the community who work with children. The Caring Place is a community resource, offering services at no charge to any grieving family throughout the community.

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


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SOURCE Highmark Caring Place
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