GRIEVING children have expressed their feelings in a heartfelt art exhibition.
The children being supported by Southend’s Havens Hospices wellbeing team following the deaths of their family members, are displaying their work as part of Children’s Grief Awareness Week.
Thirty pieces of artwork by the children explore the confusing feelings and thoughts of children aged five – 17 years old.
These include Millie Davies, eight, from Westcliff, whose grandad died during the pandemic, meaning Millie and her siblings didn’t get to say goodbye.
Millie said she and her grandad spent a lot of time visiting the seafront together – he loved the sea and sailing – so when Millie remembers him, she thinks of the sea and their happy memories together.
Her paintings capture the sunshine and happy times she had with her grandad before he died, and also an anchor representing “the heavy feeling when she misses her grandad”.
A spokesman for the hospices, based in Southend and Thundersley, said: “The Children and Young People’s Wellbeing Team at the hospice finds that many children who have experienced the death of someone special to them or have a complex or incurable condition often feel invisible, trying to process feelings that even adults don’t fully understand.
“However, art and creative therapy can be valuable tools to help them express thoughts and feelings that can be too hard to verbalise.
“Creative techniques like painting, drawing and poetry open up conversations and often evoke memories.
“The masterpieces were created during the hospice’s Headspace bereavement group, one-to-one sessions with counsellors, workshops and wellbeing groups.”
Ella Wright, six, from Maldon, has been supported by the Headspace group.
She painted a picture of her twin brother Noah, who died age four from an incurable brain tumour.
She said her painting represents how she remembers Noah, “with happiness and smiles on his face”.
Havens Hospices provides palliative nursing and supportive care to adults, young people and children living with complex or incurable conditions.
The exhibition is outside Boots in High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Chelmsford, 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday November 19 – 20.