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The Ball Toss activity kicked off Father’s Day H.U.G.S. last Saturday at Kate’s Club.
Kaylan’s dad loved ice cream.
His favorite basketball player was Michael Jordan.
And he was a great friend to all.
Immediately after sharing some of the things she’d written about her dad, the 12-year-old drew and filled in a pink heart to put the final touches on the Family Shield she’d made to remember her father, who died four years ago.
This simple, yet difficult, activity was a way for Kate’s Club families to remember the father that had been lost as part of the annual Father’s Day H.U.G.S. (Healing, Understanding, Giving, Support) activity this past Saturday.
“Some times you cry just to get it all out,” Kaylan told her table after sharing about her dad.
Throughout the morning, there were more smiles than tears, and a great deal of sharing.
“Not one of them didn’t want to say his name,” long-time volunteer Adam Klein said of his table. “They all shared.”
The Family Shield exercise was the second of the morning, following the Ball Toss exercise intended to break the ice by putting members of each table in a position to answer questions about their dad or about their grief process.
This exercise worked like a game of hot potato, where the group stood in a circle and passed the red, white, blue and yellow beach ball until the music stopped. When it did, the person holding the ball had to answer the question written on the ball being touched by their thumbs.
How did your dad die?
What is your best memory of your dad?
What do you do when you feel sad?
These were just a few of the questions being answered by the 80 people in attendance when the music stopped.
“If grief was a color, it would be black to me,” one girl said answering another one of the beach ball questions.
“Is it ok to feel angry?” another child read out loud.
“Yes, it’s ok to feel angry!” she answered. “Sometimes you have to let it out.”
Mary Howell, Kate’s Club Board Chair and Buddy, said her group was great about talking about their dad.
“Everyone shared a memory, which is really good,” she said.
There were definitely some tears, which Program Manager Debra Brook said is a sign that the programs at Kate’s Club are working.
“Success to me is when a family is in crisis and still comes,” she said, referencing one mom, who was having an understandably difficult time during the exercises. “But she came, and she made the choice to stay.”
Keisha Edwards, a Kate’s Club mom and Board Member, said bringing her son, Cole, four years after his father’s death is the best thing to do to remember his dad.
“As time passes, it’s nice to be able to remember without falling apart,” she said.
Keisha Edwards and her son, Cole, work on the Family Shield activity.