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Sidney: "Grieving my own way."

Sidney was 14 when she lost her aunt to cancer. She and her mother attended the Caring Place soon after.

The first time I heard about the Caring Place was through my counselor at school. My counselor thought it would be a good idea for me to go to the Caring Place because I recently lost my aunt. I thought it sounded boring and pointless but when I got to thinking about it I realized I should participate in this activity.

You see, I had just lost my aunt to cancer. She was only 38 years old and she had a huge impact on my life. I was devastated when she died and I felt that I no longer had anyone or control of anything. My grades were slipping and I started making poor choices.

When we started coming to the Caring Place, I thought "Nobody knows how I feel; nobody knows what's going on in my life." But that was not true.

This was the one place where people did know how I felt. They were experiencing a loss also. And we were able to be there for one another. The pledge here at the Caring Place is "I am here for you. You are here for me. We are here for each other." And that pledge shines through.

I always thought that if you were grieving you had to be crying. One night after we left the Caring Place I said to my mom, "I don't grieve when I am at the Caring Place."

And my mom said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "I don't cry when I'm there."

And my mom said to me, "You don't have to be crying to be grieving."

All of the activities that we do, we grieve while we're doing them. I loved all of the activities because I was able to be creative and it let me express the way I felt about my aunt dying in a different way — "my way!"

I would like to close by saying my grades are great and I am doing well. I definitely still have my moments that I still miss my aunt, but my mom lets me have my moment without trying to fix it and I move forward. I had so many people there for me that would listen to me when I needed to talk and when they needed to talk we were there for them. This is why the Caring Place pledge is so important:

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