Notes from Grief Camp

Mitchell Consky at The Walrus:

Last June, four boys bonded inside a summer camp cabin.

After throwing loose shirts into cubbies and spreading sleeping bags onto sandy mattresses, a game of tag around the bunk beds quickly evolved into “the floor is lava.”

Concealed within the laughter, however, was a link these four boys, all between the ages of five and seven, didn’t yet know about: each of them had lost a father. And I, their camp counsellor for the weekend, had lost mine too.

But “lost” wasn’t the right word.

As my co-counsellors and I learned from our training a few weeks earlier, being specific with language was imperative at grief camp. It was better to avoid any euphemisms like “passed away” and “lost,” as they could inadvertently add confusion to the despair. In a child’s mind, when something is lost, it can also be found. Our fathers would not be found.

More here.