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Darren: "I learned first of all that I wasn't alone."

Darren, 17 years old, talks about how his life has changed in the fourteen months since his mother died in a car accident:

I am here for you,
You are here for me,
We are here for each other.

This is the Caring Place Pledge and I found it to be so true. Now I think all of us can work together with each other to make a difference in the life of a grieving child by bringing them hope for a brighter future.

It was just one year ago in August that my Mother was killed in a car accident. I remember the sense of hopelessness that immediately filled the next days, weeks and months of my life.

I was sure no one understood my feelings. I didn't really know other teens going through the same experience. I was lost, just going through my daily routine, not sure how my life could ever improve.

My grandmother heard about the Caring Place through ads on television, made a call, and some time later we started.

A typical night at the Caring Place consists of your family arriving, eating a meal together in the Forum and then splitting into groups by age. In my individual group I learned first of all that I wasn't alone — many other teens were experiencing the loss of loved ones as well.

We played games, did crafts and some evenings we just hung out. Some of our crafts included making a memory box to honor our loved one, and making a T-shirt.

A most important factor of the Caring Place program is that you're in a safe place surrounded by caring people. Our group leaders listened when we just needed someone to talk to about our feelings. You could talk to them about matters you didn't want to discuss with anyone else.

The Caring Place has a special rule — the "I PASS" rule — that may be used at any time by any person attending if they choose not to participate in whatever may be taking place.

During the program at the Caring Place, one night is spent making your quilt square. This evening is not like the others in that you don't attend your individual groups but rather spend time with your family going through material, buttons, embellishments, looking for just the right items to tell your loved one's story: what they liked to do, who they were. Each square on these quilts honors a lost loved one. You can see quilts from previous groups hanging in the halls of the Caring Place.

The death of a loved one leaves a hole in your heart that will never completely go away but with the help of the caring people at the Caring Place it will become smaller.