A monologue about a young woman at the therapist following the death of her brother starts a conversation about grief, death of a sibling, and loss. Featuring conversations with Taliya Carter whose monologue draws upon her interest in psychology as well as from her own personal experiences of sibling death; and Darcy Walker Krause, the Executive Director of The Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia.
Click here to read a transcript of this episode.
This episode of Mouthful strikes a personal chord for host Yvonne Latty. When she first heard "Diagnosis" by Taliya Carter, a monologue about the death of a sibling, Yvonne was deeply moved. Her sister, Margie, died when they were in their 20s.
The loss of a loved one is a painful experience. The loss of a sibling is a very specific type of loss, one that is often not spoken about or considered in the immediate aftermath of a death. "Someone once told me its like you lose the witness to your childhood," Yvonne said, recounting Margie's death in an interview with Darcy Walker Krause, Executive Director of The Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia.
"I think the one thing I feel that I could say is universal [about grief] is that you never get over it," Ms. Krause said from her office in the Center's East Falls home. "There’s never a closure, there’s never an end. Especially I think for a young person who loses somebody because you go through so many stages of life where you should’ve had that person or expected that person to be around."
The pain, confusion, and anger of that kind of loss is at the center of Taliya Carter's monologue "Diagnosis," which this week's episode is built around. For Taliya, who will soon graduate from The Workshop School in Philadelphia and who wants to become a behavioral psychologist, loss is the starting point for healing: "I know everybody goes through something but I always want to be the type of person to find a way to help... if I was going through something and if I was in anybody’s situation, I would want somebody to help me, so why not start off helping other people."
The Center for Grieving Children helps children grieving a death to heal and grow through their grief while strengthening families, communities and professionals’ understanding of how best to respond to their needs. Their mission includes serving as a training and resource center for professionals and others who interact with grieving children and teens.
The Center's programs offer free peer support groups for children and teens ages 5-18 who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives. Peer support and a caring adult presence help to reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness that children often experience after death. The Center has multiple locations around the city of Philadelphia.
The Center was founded in 1995 by the Bereavement Program at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and incorporated as an independent nonprofit in 2000. Our main office is located in East Falls, PA with various Center-Based locations throughout the city of Philadelphia. The Center is supported through individual donations, grants, and corporate sponsorships
further reading & resources
The Center for Grieving Children has a great list of resources related to grief and loss on their website, here.
This document, "Sibling Death and Childhood Traumatic Grief," from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network includes a ton of information about childhood grief and sibling death, including an extensive reading list for children of various ages.
"Diagnosis" was performed by Claris Park, directed by Christina May for the 2017 Young Voices Monologue Festival.