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Montreal organization working to help children deal with grief

November 16 marked "Children's Grief Awareness Day," and, as anyone who has lost a loved one knows, grief isn't relegated to one day alone.

Montreal Myra's Kids Foundation helps kids honour and understand their grief, and encourages young people to talk about their loss.

The foundation believes that children grieving the death of a parent need to talk about their feelings - especially to someone who understands.

"Her name was Anne-Marie, she made my family have a lot of fun, she died when I was five and I really miss her," said 11-year-old Mylo Bergeron-Waye about his mom: Anne-Marie Bergeron.

Bergeron-Waye talks about his mom when he takes part in foundation activities like visiting the Old Port and making a personal blue butterfly decoration to display with other kids who have also lost a loved one.

"The worst thing that can happen to a child is obviously a parent a dying," said foundation founder Jon Reider.

Reider's mom, Myra, died when he was three years old.

"My mother's name was never mentioned, there were no pictures of her and nobody spoke of her," he said.

Reider created the foundation to offer the help he never had. He said kids don't always show it when they're hurting, which is why the event is called "Children's Grief Awareness Day."

Reider spoke to students at Roslyn School, including Bergeron-Waye's Grade 5 class.

"It's truly wonderful to know that our students have a space and a place where they can talk about their grief, and it's ok to talk about their grief and there's no expiry date for their grief," Roslyn School principal Joanna Genovezos

Every Summer, Myra's Kids Foundation runs a free bereavement camp for children ages six to 17.

"For the first time, they're together with other kids who have experienced the same trauma and the minute they get on the bus they look left and right and say 'who died in your family?' and there's an immediate connection," said Reider.

Bergeron-Waye said that's a good thing.

"Normally when you talk to normal people, they don't understand really how it feels you lost someone but at the camp everyone feels the same and it feels nice to talk to people that lost the same thing," he said.

"We've had messages from the parents saying it's the first time they're seen their children smile and talk about their loved one." said Reider. Top Stories

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