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The Ball and The Box

In the right circumstances, and with the right intentions, social media can be a place of inspiration and provide items for thoughtful contemplation.

Recently Boys and Girls Homes’ Amber Morgan shared posts with me about an analogy of grief. The posts, by Heather Clemons and Lauren Herschel, explain grief as a box with a ball in it and a pain button. Initially, the ball is huge and you cannot move the box without the ball hitting the pain button. Over time, the ball gets smaller, hitting the button less frequently. This is a blessing and a curse because while you can function better daily, when the pain button is pushed it is still as painful as when it first started and it is completely unexpected. For many, the ball will continue to get smaller, but it never completely goes away.

This is such a powerful illustration of grief as it is highly tangible. You can picture it vividly and it makes it understandable.

All of the children, youth, and families served by Boys and Girls Homes have their own grief ball in a box. It can be the grief of a lost family or the grief of unmet needs, or any number of other grief-causing experiences.

In first conversations, we don’t know the size of the grief ball or how frequently the pain button is being activated. As part of the programmatic support provided through BGHNC, our goal is to provide the support for each child, youth, and family to help shrink that ball as small as possible. We also want to provide the toolbox of skills that will allow them to react in a healthy way to the unexpected moments when the pain button is pushed.

The reality is most of us are carrying around our own ball in a box. In some cases, we actually might be carrying two or three at any given time. It is important to understand our own grief and show the kindness and grace to others as we may never truly know about their experiences.

Melissa Hopkins is the Public Relations and Marketing Specialist for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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