Sarah

Taylor

Rosa

Sean

Brooklyn

Sarah G

Danielle

Suzanne

Ethan

Bart

Emily

Autumn

Melissa, Alex and Rachael

"In July of 2015, I lost my husband to cancer. It's impossible to convey how difficult it was to tell my children, who were 7 and 4 at the time that their dad died. As parents, we are constantly worrying about our children; as a parent of grieving children, this concern heightened in a way I never thought possible.
I contacted Lighthouse not long after my husband died. From the moment we left our introduction interview and tour, the kids asked, "how long until we can come here?" Quite simply, they love their Lighthouse days and really enjoy being with other children who are in similar circumstances. (If you ask the kids what their favourite part of Lighthouse is, they'll say "the Volcano Room.") As they navigate this first year (and those to come) without their dad, they are fortunate to have a safe place to express their emotions and fears.
It's impossible to adequately express the gratitude I feel for support we receive at Lighthouse (even in the "boring" parent room, as the kids call it)."

Melissa, Alex and Rachael

Teenage sisters from Mississauga

“After our dad died, going to Lighthouse and being able to share our story with other kids who had lost someone significant in their lives made us feel less isolated in our grief. The people we met there understood our pain and had a genuine interest in helping us through our journey. In our everyday lives, nobody could identify with what we were going through but at Lighthouse, we felt safe and supported talking about our dad and in turn were able to provide support and empathy through listening to the stories of loss from other kids. The programs and activities made it easy to open up and at the end of each group we felt a little lighter and optimistic moving forward. Despite not knowing anyone prior to attending Lighthouse, having that one major thing in common allowed all of us to be surprisingly open and comfortable with sharing some of our deepest struggles in life. The atmosphere of Lighthouse is one of comfort and welcome, it is a safe and encouraging place and for that we are truly grateful.“

Teenage sisters from Mississauga

Merv

“My daughter was sixteen, a very turbulent and difficult age at the best of times, when her sister, my eldest daughter, died while away at University. At first she received personal counselling. It was not until she found Lighthouse on her own that my daughter began to walk the long journey through grief. There is only so much a parent can do for a child before they have to walk their own walk through the biggest challenges of life. Your program gave her a place and a voice to be herself in grief. She and I have a great relationship but she needed to have support where she didn't have to look after her parent's feelings.”

Merv

Child aged 4

“Because when someone dies that makes them feel sad and when you come to The Lighthouse they make you feel good because they are good people.”

Child aged 4

Mom from Oakville

“In a world where everything was turned upside down and seemed foreign, going to The Lighthouse and being with people who knew exactly what we were going through was like walking into a loving embrace.”

Mom from Oakville

Dad from Milton

“Listening to my children’s laughter whenever we are here, is what warms up my heart and gives me peace and hope. At the same time The Lighthouse is a place for me where I feel safe.”

Dad from Milton

SK

“It makes me feel good. It helps to leave my house for a while where all my memories are of my dad. The volcano room keeps my mind off my dad’s death.”

SK

Emily

“You can be as mad as you want. You don’t have to hide it. It’s great here because you really don’t have to hold back.”

Emily

Frances

“Through the work of the Lighthouse program, my son has been able to gain an understanding of his feelings and life experience. There he’s surrounded by familiar stories and individuals who speak the same language – one of profound loss.”

Frances

Marcia

“You can really be yourself here and just say things like ‘I’m so angry,’ or ‘I’m so frustrated,’ and the people you’re with… they get it.”

Marcia

Clanmore Montessori School, Oakville

“When our little student died unexpectedly, aged 5, our school was reeling. A phone call to the Lighthouse on the evening of her death meant that as staff gathered early next morning, we had support and guidance about what we would do and how we could guide our community as the sad news broke. Lighthouse personnel gave us the information we needed and the confidence to act with courage. My hand was held as I addressed the parents of children in school that morning and I knew we could be a place of peace and love for all in the community with exceptional backup from the Lighthouse. We are ever and always grateful to the Lighthouse for its special help at that time and the days that followed.”

Clanmore Montessori School, Oakville

Oakville mom

“My son was 11 when he lost his father to cancer, and I lost my husband. I tried two different grief counselors but it did not help. My son had shut down, not wanting to talk about his feelings with anyone. Then we found the Lighthouse. Words cannot express the overwhelming gratitude I have for the staff and volunteers. They have had and continue to have, a positive and healing impact on my son. He wishes it were a weekly program rather than bi-weekly. He once asked me if he is only allowed so many weeks or sessions at the Lighthouse. When I told him there is no time limit, he stops going when he feels he no longer needs to go, he was so relieved. And it is a relief to me to know there is no time limit on his healing because everyone is different.”

Oakville mom

Ben

“I lost my brother to cancer (osteo-sarcoma & leukemia) 2 ½ years ago. In January of this year, I joined a group called the “Lighthouse For Grieving Children Program.” This group has been very helpful to me in the past 5 months. When you go to the “Lighthouse” it’s not all about talking about the person who has died, it’s all about getting rid of the mad, sad, and worries inside of you.
There is a room called the “Volcano Room” where there is a punching bag that you can punch the mad out of you. There is also a room called the “pillow room” where we do circle time. This is where you can talk about everything that is going on in your life. I used to think that no one else felt the way that I did when my brother died, but when I came to the “Lighthouse” I found that there were other people who felt the same way. That has helped me a lot because now I know there are more people to talk to than just my Mom and Dad. There are lots of other kids who have been through the same thing and understand what I’m dealing with. The group leaders are a great help because they have also lost a loved one so they teach us ways to deal with our feelings.”

Ben

Teacher from Mississauga

“In the fall of 2013 our school community experienced the sudden loss of one of our students. This loss not only had a devastating impact on the family, but also on the staff and students of the school and on the community as a whole.  We were fortunate to receive immediate support, which allowed us to begin to heal.  While time has helped, this tragedy reminds us all that life is precious. We are forever changed because of this experience.”

Teacher from Mississauga

Jo Fallon, Founder

"It is a healthy reaction to loss. But, in order to reinvest back into one’s life one has to process what has happened, how it happened and what does that mean moving forward. The more that children and youth are able to process through at the relevant time, the greater their resilience and sense of self as they go into adulthood.  To be in a non-judgmental, loving and accepting environment is crucial.  It is the foundation of how they will go on to live their lives with strength, passion and vigour. Simply put, lives are lived better when we do not come from a place of constriction and fear. Life is about living - we all deserve the right to live our lives to the very fullest... Lighthouse facilitates that.”

Jo Fallon, Founder

Mrs Ivany, Teacher at Rotherglen

“My mother died when I was 10 years old in a tragic car accident that left my family reeling. I was the oldest of three. My sister was nine and my brother was three. As one can imagine, my father was lost, and struggled to put our family back together. As the oldest, I wanted to talk about what happened and deal with my grief. However, I always felt that I would upset my dad by talking about it. With programs like the Lighthouse, children are never alone in their grief. They can communicate their emotions in a nurturing environment and they feel safe which during this time period is of the upmost importance. Losing my mom at such a young age, shaped who I am as a person and in countless milestones even in my adult life I still feel such a tremendous loss. This is why I love running in the Lighthouse run. I feel such a huge amount of gratitude for organizations such as the Lighthouse and know how important the work they do really is.”

Mrs Ivany, Teacher

 

Jennifer Stothers, Past Board member of The Lighthouse

“My sister, Stephanie, died seven years ago from breast cancer. Steph had been living with the disease for many years – but kept her diagnosis private. Very few people knew about the almost daily regime of medical treatments she endured over the last few years of her life – not even her two children, Riley and Jenny, who were both in their teens at the time. Steph wanted her kids and her husband to have as “normal” a life as possible – she did not want cancer to interfere with their activities. The only problem with this was that nobody spoke about the “elephant in the room” – and the inevitable outcome. We did not learn to speak the language of illness and death – which I think made Steph’s death even more shocking and painful – and the grieving process more complicated. This experience taught me that we all need to be able to talk about illness and death – especially with our children.
This is why I volunteer for Lighthouse. I want children and their families who have experienced a similar loss to have a place where they feel safe and supported – and can work through their feelings of loss with others who understand. Grief is very isolating – but at Lighthouse, you are not alone.”

Jennifer Stothers, Board member of The Lighthouse

 

Mom from Milton

“My son was killed in a murder suicide a month before his seventh birthday. It has been an absolute nightmare since the day it happened, but it’s not just my world that's been turned upside down. My whole family has been suffering too, especially my six- and seven-year-old nephews. The boys were like brothers and this tragedy has shaken the world they live in. We didn’t know how to help them. They were in therapy but were reluctant to go, and there didn’t seem to be any improvement. Three months later we found The Lighthouse.
I have seen so much progress in them; they talk more now and I am finally starting to rebuild my relationship with them. My nephews are all I have left of my son, and knowing that they are getting the support they need, is such a relief to me and my family.”

Mom from Milton

P, mother of two

Lighthouse has provided a place where both my daughters can freely express how they are feeling in a variety of ways. One of the greatest challenges that we all faced was the feeling that we were alone in our experience. Lighthouse proved that this was not the case and gave my girls a place where they did not feel different from everyone else. In providing a space where the girls could explore their grief safely and amongst their peers, Lighthouse had done what no amount of counselling could have accomplished."

P, mother of two

Taylor

The Lighthouse Program definitely helped me and my two younger sisters deal with the concept of death and introduced us to other children who were in the same situation. It was a no pressure environment. You never had to do anything you didn't want to. We had fun as well as talked about our feelings. We had no obligation to talk deeply about our thoughts but were encouraged to express ourselves and our feeling through art and other activities during our meetings. The Lighthouse Program truly helped me and my family get though a difficult time. I am now 16 and I have been a Buddy at the program and worked with children who were in the same situation as me. It is a non-profit organization that should be recognized by everyone, because life is not to be taken for granted."

Taylor

Brad and Mitch

Our favourite part about going to the Lighthouse is "padded room".... it was fun!"

Brad and Mitch

Lee-Ann

I really believe it helped them come to grips with a reality that children their age should really never have to go through. For me as a mother, widow, person in pain, the meetings with the other parents helped me see that I too wasn't alone. I would not hesitate to recommend the Lighthouse program to any family who find their life has change in that ordinary instant."

Lee-Ann

Cindy and Sarah

My daughter attended school, but none of her friends really understood what she was going through. We went to the group and all of the children there were in similar situations, knew what it was like for her and she could just be herself. Jo and the group staff were great and she could feel comfortable and safe there. I met with the other parents and it helped me also to talk with other parents facing the same challenges a loss like this bring to a family. We need groups like this to help children deal with their grief in a positive and healthy way."

Cindy and Sarah

P, mother of three

The Lighthouse helps us not only to release our feelings but to learn that the things we do, feel or happen to us are normal so we can deal with it and avoid us from falling into depression”.

P, mother of three

Jonce, father of two

At the same time the Lighthouse became a place for me where I fellt safe. Helped me to regain strength and recouped me in the most dificult time for my children and me, providing us with the right paths to continue with our life.”

Jonce, father of two