When Tragedy Strikes…

The Children’s Bereavement Center and Its Benefits

Brothers Melvin and Caleb

Brothers Melvin and Caleb

It was a rainy Tuesday night when Children’s Bereavement Center had their candle lighting ceremony. Dozens of people came together for one common purpose:  to share their grief and honor their deceased loved ones. I was 9 years old at the time and my mother had recently died. It was my first candle lighting ceremony.

Now, about 8 years later, I am still going to these ceremonies but instead of being a participant, I am a facilitator. Humanities teacher Kristina Martinez joined us on one occasion. “What struck me about this event was the sense of community. There was joy but a sense that everyone in the room knew each other and had a bond. That sense of community was palpable.”

Children’s Bereavement Center is one of the most beneficial and special organizations that works with the Miami Country Day, but not one widely known or recognized here.  “Death is a complex issue and culturally and societally a topic few are open to discuss,” says Denise Patrios, on site supervisor for CBC. CBC is a volunteer support group that helps people with their grief when a loved one passes away. This organization meets here at school from 7-9pm every Tuesday night. “The CBC is the only agency that provides bereavement support to all ages,” says Ms. Patrios.

While the organization is comfortable being here, there is more that can be done to  make the partnership even stronger or at least, better known.. “What I know is that they meet here on Tuesday evenings and also that they are a resource” we can tap into, says Upper School counselor Kelly Pierce. “I think a stronger relationship could be formed to make them more accessible to the families.” Getting the word out about them is key.

Lower School counselor Susan Glick acknowledges their importance. “I know they provide group counseling for children, teens, and adults. They meet in separate groups,” adding, “Facilitators normally have been through this process of loss. Some are licensed therapists.”

Currently, the evening sessions are what they offer, but perhaps there might be room for change.  “There is an after school partnership. As for coming during school operating hours, I would think…that [might]  alleviate additional stress for families.They do not need to add another after school activity to their kids agenda,” offers Ms. Glick.

The organization does not advertise, but is an incredible resource for those in need. I can speak from experience when I say that CBC is very beneficial for the grieving child. It helps them relate with other children and facilitators, so they know the truth of the matter is that they are not alone. This alone helps kids put down their defenses and build relationships and social confidence. “After the death of a significant loved one, life is never the same,” maintains the Children’s Bereavement Center’s main slogan. It could not reign more truthful and CBC helps people continue to fight through this process, which really never ends.

CBC is a place to support those in need when tragedy strikes. Groups  meet once a week every Tuesday night from 7pm until 9pm. Participants first meet in the pool parking lot for a bite to eat and then split up into age appropriate groups. You do not need to contact anyone or make a reservation. You can just show up and talk to the onsite head facilitator Denise.