Bright Star helps parents, sister heal after beloved teen's death.

Tiffany and Chad were understandably devastated when their 15-year-old son, Donovan, died tragically in their family home. Their heartache was compounded as they watched their young daughter struggle to cope with the loss of her brother. “You can barely function yourself,” Tiffany said. “We were really concerned with our daughter, Natalie.”

The family first tried to find solace through a support group held in someone’s home, but it didn’t feel right.  When a doctor referred them to Bright Star Center for Grieving Children & Families, the pieces of this heartbreaking puzzle seemed to fit. “It was a very different sort of atmosphere,” Chad said.

While Natalie was scared the first time she walked in Bright Star’s doors, things quickly changed.

“By the end of that evening, she had made a collage,” Chad said. “She had five new friends to show and introduce me to, and she was just loving it.”

It’s become a place of refuge, where Natalie can mourn the loss of her brother and cherish his memory with peers.

“We’ve really learned from this program that children’s minds work differently,” Chad said. “The counselors let me know she is going to come to me. She’s going to get what she needs, and that quieted my fears.”

Natalie relishes making crafts at Bright Star and also loves the biannual Camp Bright Star. It reminds her of the good times with Donovan.

“Me and my brother did a lot of art,” she shared. “And I don’t have to worry about anyone saying anything mean, because they are going through the same thing.”

Making connections and being accepted by other children and adults experiencing loss can help to lift the burden of grief.

“I think every human has a need to feel a place where they’re comfortable and accepted,” Chad said.

Donovan’s family has found a glimmer of hope thanks to the love and support of other Bright Star families.