WPP 023: Tamarack’s Dr. Tina Barrett on Mother’s & Father’s Days and outdoor grief support programs

As activities or writing projects come up, gift-making for parents around these days, we can help prepare our children for what is the language you want to share. And even help a child come to an understanding that, yep, you’ve still got a mom, your mom’s not walking on the earth, that her body has stopped working. She died. And it’s okay to honor that she’s your mom, and what she looked like, and how darn much she loved you, and that she really liked Skittles and daisies and whatever it might be, that you all used to sing this one song together. It’s okay to still call her your mom and it’s okay that you cry when those activities come up and it’s okay to make her a card, and it’s okay to include her in pictures where you’re drawing a family picture. In the same way any of us claim relationships, you can still claim these relationships. It’s still your relationship.
— Dr. Tina Barrett

I had such a great discussion with Dr. Tina Barrett of Montana’s Tamarack Grief Resource Center for this episode. Tina is a nationally recognized specialist in outdoor-based grief support programs. She co-founded Tamarack, and has run grief programs and camps for over 20 years. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day right around the corner, I invited Tina to speak with us about ideas for approaching these holidays, and so much more. We talked about:

  • Tina’s dissertation and research findings on how outdoor-based grief support can be beneficial for grieving youth and adults;

  • Programs offered by the Tamarack Grief Resource Center, including grief groups, youth overnight and day camps, Women’s Rendezvous, Men’s Retreat, and Family Camp;

  • Why both Father’s Day and Mother’s Day might be hard, whether it’s mom or dad who died;

  • Practical ideas for honoring Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, whether you have young children or teens;

  • Tips on approaching school activities around Mother’s / Father’s Day, such as writing assignments and art projects;

  • Different grief styles, and how important it is to understand and recognize that people, including kids, grieve in different ways; and

  • The difference between self-care and self-indulgence.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Dr. Tina Barrett.

Links & resources for this episode

Tamarack Grief Resource Center - Missoula, Montana
Tamarack’s A Camp to Remember info, 2019 youth camp schedule, and 2019 Family Camp schedule
Darcie Sims - Does Grief Come in “One Size Fits All?”
Camp Widow
Tamarack on Facebook and Instagram

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