EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Memorial Day has a special meaning for Hospice in the Pines in Lufkin. They have partnered with the Trevor Romain Foundation in Austin to develop a grief kit for children of fallen soldiers.
Memorial Day commemorates the U.S. service men and women who died while serving their country, many of them leaving behind children. This unique product is helping our youngest war victims deal with the loss of a loved one.
"We thought about what children really need. They need affection. They need compassion. They need empathy. As a professional who deals with children and works with bereavement and actually started some of our bereavement programs, I felt that this would be a way that we could personalize their thoughts and that parents could share with those things," said Demetress Harrell, Senior Executive Director, Hospice in the Pines.
The tools in the kit not only help the children, they help the parent of adult as well. A grief kit or memory box is given to each child of a fallen soldier. The box itself can be customized to the child's individual tastes. Inside there is a journal with information to help them get through the grief process, a book written by Harrell that helps them understand the various stages of grief that they might go through at different ages.
"Personally to know that some material that I have written or had a part in to be utilized and provided to young people all over the world is very important and very significant. It's not really about me, but it's good to know that Hospice in the Pines is being collaborated with other groups and shared with other people, but most specially I want to know that I am touching the lives of others and know that I am touching children. That means a lot," said Harrell.
Also in the memory box are a video on death and dying and a stuffed bear keepsake.
"Many other professionals are using this across the nation, not only with the USA who have signed on to say I'm endorsing this product because it benefits so many children and we talk about fallen soldiers, we know that parents are left behind to raise children and they need something that will support, that will provide care and we're just blessed to be a part of it," said Harrell.
As a nation pauses to remember our fallen soldiers, Hospice pauses to also remember those young ones they left behind.
The bereavement kits, or memory boxes are available for organizations that work with children. They may also be purchased individually. Contact Hospice in the Pines, 936-632-1514 for more information.