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    • #5415

      Michael Porter


      My name is Mike and I am ordained in the Lutheran church.  After serving as a parish Pastor for almost nine years I moved to chaplaincy.  I am Board Certified in the Association of Professional Chaplains and serving as the Chaplain/Director of Pastoral Care for Porter Health Care system in Valparaiso, Indiana now for twenty-five years.  I am married for thirty-eight years with two children and two grandsons.

      As Chaplain I do not work much with children, however I do work with parents of children.  A question that is often raised by parents of children when someone dies is, “What do I say to the kids?”  I have helped parents with this, but it has been a while since I have had any discussion about children and grieving.  I am looking forward to gaining further and newer insights around this topic.



    • #5417

      Joy Freeman

      Hi all,

      My name is Joy and I am ordained American Baptist endorsed chaplain and am BCC with the Association of Professional Chaplains. I have been in Chaplaincy for 19 years now. I work as a staff chaplain at a not for profit community hospital with 487 beds and busy ED.  I have been married 19 years and have a 12 year old and one child in heaven.  Outside of chaplaincy I do Tae Kwon Do and Tai Chi, manage my daughters VERY busy schedule, craft, read and play dungeons and dragons.

      I am here because it has been a while since I explored the topic of children’s grief and felt it was time to refresh and learn more again.

      Like Mike, I don’t work directly with children much and more typically are engaged in the conversation with parents or close family members about how to talk to the kids in their life affected by the death.  Another area of children’s grief I am very interested in is in relationship to pregnancy loss and infant death, I am chaplain to Maternity and our Maternity Bereavement team.  For kids who the expected baby was to be their first sibling I am interested in how to help them grieve the loss of the role of being an older sibling since often they have not made a connection to the baby as person but more so connected to the idea that they were going to be a big sister or brother.  This is a different and less tangible type of grief (and yes one I experienced in my own life when we lost our second pregnancy.)

      A different type of grief that I am also interested in grief related to life changes that are not related to death. And grief that may come in the normal transitions that come with growing up.  I am moving into helping my daughter transition from child to teen and elementary school to middle school.  What I am noticing is that there is some grief with this, and I wonder do we realize that our kids may be struggling with these transitions not just because they are hard, but because there is unrecognized grief.  So this aspect of grief is a more personal interest right now.

      Mike, Good to see you here again.  We have been in other Oates classes in the past.



    • #5418

      Mary M. Wrye

      Good morning Mike and Joy,
      I am Mary. I am the Director of Chaplaincy Service in a small community hospital in Western Kentucky. To say the I’m the “Director” of the department is a little misleading as I am a one person department, so I direct myself :0)
      I am ordained and endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (the moderate group that left the Southern Baptist Convention almost 30 years ago). My first “life” I was a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with mentally/physically handicapped adults. Second “life” after seminary has been 16 years on church staffs, CPE and Board Certification (APC as well), and here at this hospital 15 years. I am not married. No children of my body, six children of my heart (nieces and nephews).

      Like both of you, I do not work directly with children but have had similar experiences as you. “How do we tell the kids?” Another part that I run into is younger children being taken with their parents to see a grandparent that has just died in the ED. I tend to discuss that with parents first, but some do it anyway.

      Joy, I am so glad you brought up the grief associated with graduating from one phase of life to another. We often get wrapped up in the celebration and excitement of kids going from elementary school to junior high or into high school or jumping into the teenage years that we don’t stop to watch the grief going on in what is left behind. Thank you for pointing that out.

      Joy we have been in these seminars together before. Nice to hear from you again. I look forward to learning from y’all.

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