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The Story of Michael*

After his dad died, Michael, age 6, regained his sense of self by working through his grief in individual grief counseling sessions at Samaritan Hospice.

Younger children do not yet possess the language skills to fully express their grief, so Samaritan’s grief counselors use age-appropriate activities and play to teach children coping strategies.

The drawing below, “My dad and god” was Michael’s breakthrough moment in which he showed that he understood his father’s death. In the children’s room, a dedicated space in the Samaritan Center for Grief, Michael was free to explore and try to understand the complexity of his emotions under the guidance of masters’ level counselors skilled in working with children.

To regain a sense of normalcy, his little sister Amber, age 4, participated in “Big Hurts, Little Tears” Samaritan’s group counseling sessions designed specifically for 3 to 5 year olds. “Big Hurts, Little Tears” is the only grief group in southern New Jersey available specifically for children ages 3 to 5, and is one of the first and the few in the nation.



“My dad and god
Drawing by Michael, age 6

Dad: How are you doing?
God: I’m doen [doing] OK.
Dad: I have family down here there.
God: So do I.










*Please note that while the story here is true, the names have been changed to protect privacy.