Healing Grief Through Serving Others, a Unique Trip to Nicaragua
A lot of organizations provide a platform for those who are grieving to come together, but few provide a positive outlet. Catherine Stern and Carole Mahoney founded Project Grace with this goal, having grievers travel together to a distant location and engage in community service.
Project Grace supports those who have suffered the loss of a loved one by giving them opportunities to serve others and to share their stories.
A video produced by Storytellers for Good, an organization that promotes “goodness through the art of storytelling,” features several grievers who shared their stories and how Project Grace has helped them cope with loss.
They went to Nicaragua to build a school in a community that consists of only about 40 to 50 homes, said Todd, a member of Project Grace who lost his 17-year-old son.
Eileen, another member, said: “I’m here to honor my dad and brother who both died of cancer.”
Another, David, had recently lost his mother. Todd, who described his deceased son as “a great gift” and “precious,” asked, “How do you measure a life?”
Kristin had lost her 19-year-old daughter four months beforehand in a motorcycle accident. She said her daughter was “just a happy kid who loved life,” and she felt “waves of sadness” because her daughter couldn’t be there with her on the trip.
“She would have been thrilled to be here … helping to build this school for those kids,” she said.
On her daughter’s birthday, Kristin brought a huge birthday cake to the village in Nicaragua to share it with the children and other villagers.
“If she’s looking down, she would be thrilled at having her birthday cake celebrated with the children of Nicaragua,” Kristin said.
Each members from the organization gets a day entirely to themselves to tell other members why they are there. They each hand out a picture of their loved one, and the following day is dedicated to that specific loved one. Some even bring the ashes.
Each story becomes not only the individual’s, but also the group’s.
Project Grace gives the grieving members strength—especially because they give back the support, compassion, and kindness to other members.