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Holding On To HOPE

"Even though my heart was broken when my brother died, the butterfly means that it won't always hurt so bad." —8 year old

About Holding On To HOPEHOPE the butterfly

When someone we love dies, we hurt. We feel many things—sadness, anger, confusion, loneliness. Even if we are relieved that they are no longer suffering, we still miss them.

In the days and months that immediately follow the death, the pain can be intense. We are aware that things are never going to be the same again. We search for meaning—in the life of the person who died and in their death.

And we remember them. Even though the person has died, the relationship doesn't die. It continues on in memories. Remembering can bring us joy but also, sometimes, can intensify the pain of missing them.

Although it can seem as if the intense pain we feel, the gnawing emptiness, will never go away, it can ease over time. Grief lasts a lifetime—we will miss them forever—but there is hope.

In those times that it hurts the most, we can hold on to the hope that "it won't always hurt so bad."

Holding On To HOPE was created in connection with Children's Grief Awareness Day to help raise awareness of the need for support of children grieving the death of a loved one and to let these children know they are not alone.

HOPE the butterfly

HOPE the Butterfly was created to spread this message of hope to grieving children across the world that "it won't always hurt so bad."

No one can just take away a child's grief. No one can bring back the person who has died. But we can show grieving children that they're not alone. We can show them we care. We can show them we're there for them.

Grieving children can hold on to our support, our care. Grieving children can hold on to hope—the hope that it won't always hurt so bad.

How you can help

Here's one way you can help—you can hold on to HOPE and show grieving children "I care and I am here."

Print out HOPE the Butterfly and let people know why you are holding on to HOPE, by writing (or drawing) the reason right on the printed page itself.

You may be holding on to HOPE in memory of someone you love—who is that person, and what memories do you want to share about them?

You may know a child (or an adult) who is grieving the loss of a loved one, and so you may be holding on to HOPE in honor of them—who is that person, and what makes them special?

You may know a group or an organization which works to support grieving children, so you might want to hold on to HOPE in support of them—who is this organization, and what do they do to make you proud of their work?

Or, you (individually or as a particular group) may simply want to hold on to HOPE in support of all grieving children, and send out HOPE from yourself, your family or your group—who are you, and what would you like to say to grieving kids?

These personalized messages can be very powerful as others see what Holding On To HOPE means to you.

After writing (or drawing) your message, have a picture taken of you and HOPE and share your picture online with grieving kids throughout the world—let these kids see that it's possible to Hold On To HOPE.
(For details on how to upload your photo, see "Instructions for Sharing HOPE.")

By November 20 (which is Children's Grief Awareness Day in 2014), the goal is to have as many pictures of as many different people in as many different places as possible "Holding On To HOPE" as a message to grieving children everywhere that they are not alone. Please add your voice—and your photo—to this message of HOPE.

And you can continue to spread HOPE beyond that. Pass it on—share HOPE with your friends and family by sending HOPE to them as well. You can send HOPE either electronically or in a paper version, whatever is easier for you, and let them know what "Holding On To HOPE" is all about.

To pass HOPE on electronically, share this link—HOPE the Butterfly—through email, Facebook, Twitter or any other place you connect with friends. The more people who know about HOPE, the more HOPE can find its way into the lives of grieving children.