Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with Jim Stewart from Katy’s Kids. A bereaved parent himself, Stewart founded Katy’s Kids after his daughter Katy died at ten years old. The Children’s Museum of the East End was born via Katy’s courage, and today Stewart and his wife are constantly looking for ways to give back. They also have a son, who was six when Katy died. They wanted to teach him how to grieve, that it was normal, and to surround him with peers who understand what he’s going through. The Stewarts serve the bereaved around the country, and were inspired by The Dougy Center in Portland, Oregon.
The loss of a child is something that can make you want to close off to the world. They encourage people to talk, ask questions, and go through the stages of grief. It’s been five years since Katy’s death, and Stewart says it gets a little easier over time. He chooses how he looks at the grief process, and doing so positively can be a testament to Katy’s legacy.
Honoring Your Child
Katy loved life and loved people, and Stewart will always remember her that way. Many bereaved parents find hope through a life of service, which is what Stewart has done. There are many ways to serve, and starting an organization, center, or camp is just one of them. He encourages bereaved parents to tap into what’s natural for them, whether it’s volunteering, starting a non-profit, or helping loved ones through their own grief.
There’s no one way to heal, but all parents feel a desire to keep their child’s memory alive. This can be done with testaments and by living a life of service. Katy will never be forgotten because her family refuses to let their continuing bonds go.