Health Check: Children's bereavement center

Health Check: Children's bereavement center

Rhode Island’s only children’s bereavement center reaches out to children in need as we head in to the holidays.

Vincent Memoli and his two children, just some of the many hundreds of beneficiaries through the years.

Memoli married his wife, Kelly, back on October 14, 2006.

In November of 2009, Domenic was born. In January of 2011, along came Owen. And all was well, until Kelly’s diagnoses of advanced cervical cancer.

"She was diagnosed in December 2014," recalled Memoli.

She underwent chemo and radiation therapy.

"September 2015, she got a clean bill of health,: said Memoli. “No signs of cancer."

But by December her cancer was back and had spread.

"And she passed away in August 2016, august 15th," said Memoli.

"We used to have date night,” said 6 year old Owen Memoli, of his mother. “We went out to eat and did fun stuff."

Friends Way in Warwick a big part of this family’s transformation.

"They're trying to figure out is it okay to still be happy," said Ryan Loiselle, program director at Friends Way of the families who’ve come through the doors.

He says it is in the basement of their building in Warwick where ‘all the magic happens.’

"They get to do some dramatic play puppet shows, talk about their feelings, do things in sand, make masks and they're around other kids, showing different emotions, showing that it's okay to still be happy while you're grieving."

"The boys don't feel alone,” said Memoli. “They have people they can relate to that lost a mom or a dad.

He says the adults who meet upstairs also benefit. And find ways to honor their loved ones, in Vincent's case, his wife

"At Christmas, we do a Yankee swap. We put her name in a hat and somebody picks her name. They can donate to a cause in her name."

All services provided by Friends Way, including dinner, is free of charge to families.

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