I invited them inside to finish their meeting as our UA intern, Amber, and I prepared for the tour. We all gathered in the living room where we started our time together just as our Tu Nidito volunteers do in pre-group. We did a few grounding exercises and then began our introductions. This gave us the opportunity to talk about grief and how important it is to have open conversations. We passed the sharing stick and all those who wanted to share did so with their name and how grief makes them feel. Every participant was thoughtful and reflective.
Next, we split the teens and moms into peer support groups. Amber took the teens to the teen lounge for a sharing circle while I toured the moms around Tu Nidito. There were many “aha” moments as I showed them the volcano room, the imagination room, the art room and our group rooms. They gained an understanding of what happens for a child at Tu Nidito and how they learn to process grief through intentional activities and curriculum. As we moved to the playground, they spotted the Telephone of the Wind. When we talked about the phone’s purpose, one mom said she wished that she had one to talk with her loved ones who have died, especially her mom.
As we moved back into the living room, we realized that the teens were still in their sharing circle. That surprised me as it had been about 45 minutes. Amber reported that they embraced the sharing circle and were open about their own grief and the impact it has in their lives. They also asked a lot of questions to help them get a better understanding of how grief manifests in our day to day lives.
The teens toured Tu Nidito, as I led the moms through our sharing circle activities. These moms went deep fast, many exploring their personal grief for the first time. As they shared their stories, I saw connections, admiration, and understanding. The tears flowed as this group of women forged a deeper bond through their shared experiences.
Finally, we all gathered together back in the living room for our closing circle and reflection. Everyone was moved that morning as they connected with our mission and each other. They left with a new openness about grief, and I am certain they will be our ambassadors as we work to normalize conversations about grief in our schools and throughout the community.
The Tucson Chapter of NCL came up with many new ideas about how they can support our participants and are inspired to be of service. We are grateful for their support and willingness to have a Tu Nidito experience.
Director, Philanthropy and Communications