This project is designed to help family members begin to realize that each had a different relationship with the deceased and therefore is feeling the loss differently. Some family members may overtly feel their loss and some may be more introspective. By sharing when the loss is the greatest, family members will also realize that the loss is no less to each of the family members.
Before talking about the drawings, ask each child to complete the following open-ended statements about their picture. One at a time read aloud the fill-in-the-blank statements below. Write completed sentences on the back of the picture, or ask them to tell you what to write.
The name of my picture is:I wish I could:If I could change one thing I would:Sometimes it seems like: Don’t ever expect me to:What I need most today is:
After completing the sentences, tell your children that you hope they will share something about their drawing. Tell them that they can share whatever they want to share, and suggest they begin by reading the sentences that summarize the picture.
If children agree to share, ask who will go first and begin the process taking turns. If children are reluctant to share you may share your drawing first. Read the sentences on the back of your picture. Model a brief show and tell so they learn that sharing even a little is okay. Then ask if they have questions about your drawing. Continue taking turns.
After each family member shares his thoughts, ask if it would be okay for family members to share their reflections about the drawing. If this is okay, take the first turn and model appropriate, uncritical reflections. It is important not to comment about the quality of a picture but to focus on its content. For example: Martha, I noticed you are very tiny in the picture or Sam, I noticed you used only the black crayon today. (Words for all to avoid: nice, good, pretty, beautiful, ugly, dumb, etc.)
After everyone has shared, ask if they learned something new about the family. This is a good time to talk about how members have private feelings and need to have time alone as well as time together to grieve. Talk about how the family is different then it was before and ways it might change in the future. Notice the family strengths and talk about how these will be useful as change continues. You might close with a favorite poem, meditation or prayer.
Read more about this project.
Art Exercises© Jeanne D. Ritterson 1998