As a child grief specialist, Melody Ray works with kids and families who have lost loved ones to cancer, suicide and drug overdoses. Given the growing number of drug overdose deaths, the number of families left behind is growing too.
About two years ago, Ray started looking for resources to help those families cope and talk, but couldn’t find anything. So, she wrote a book called “Someone I Love Died from a Drug Overdose.”
The book tells the story of Tommy and his dad’s struggle with addiction and how Tommy’s mom explains his dad’s death.
“Thousands of kids are struggling with this and thousands of families are struggling to have this really, really hard conversation,” said Ray, who works as the volunteer coordinator for the Healing Patch Children’s Grief Program in Ebensburg. They offer free, peer support groups for children (pre-K – 12th grade) and adults.
Ray says the book is a truthful and age-appropriate way to start that difficult conversation.
“It’s not until we can talk about and express our grief, until we do those things, that we can start to heal,” Ray said.
The Healing Patch is holding on open house on Thursday May 17th. Any family who wants to learn more about the support groups is welcome to attend. Volunteers who want to participate are also invited to attend.
The open house runs from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch located at 118 Ebony Road in Ebensburg.
Another open house will take place at the Blair County Healing Patch location on June 14th from 5:30-7:30pm at the office located at 20 Sheraton Drive in Altoona.