Hello! I'm Michele Benyo. I'm glad you found me . . . but I am so sorry that you needed to. A child that you cherish is grieving, and most likely so are you. You are desperate to help your child, and I believe I can help you.
My daughter is the reason I'm here. When she was only three-and-a-half years old she said to me, "Mommy, half of me is gone." Her beloved big brother, best friend and only sibling—my precious six-year-old son—died of cancer, and the loss was devastating. It broke our hearts and left an unfillable void in her young being.I was teaching early childhood parenting classes at that time. My heart's desire was—and is—to make good things happen for children and the parents who love them. Yet with all my resources, I found little to help me navigate our unthinkable new reality.
When we cross the street, we need to hold hands. When we're walking on the sidewalk, we don't have to hold
hands; we hold hands
just to love each other.
David, age 4, to his little sister
No one could tell me how I was supposed to parent my daughter without her brother.
You've suffered "the worst loss" imaginable. And when your child leaves a grieving sibling, your heart is twice broken. I felt my daughter's loss even more deeply than my own.
The task of parenting a child without her sibling—a "sibling by heart"—is uncharted territory that thankfully most parents will never walk. For those of us who do, it's a lonely and isolated place. I'm here to step into this space with you.
Childhood sibling loss has deep ramifications that few people recognize; it impacts the most basic of day-to-day interactions. My daughter spoke it so well one day on the playground when she said to me, "No one can know the pain that we feel."
My daughter's loss will never ever be okay. Yet I couldn’t change it. I simply had to make the best lemonade that I possibly could. I had to figure out how to do the rest of our lives—how to help her cope with her loss, shine light into the void, and remake a meaning-full life around her altered identity as a sibling by heart.
Parenting my sibling by heart to adulthood was my mission for 16 years. Today I better understand what I needed as a bereaved parent of a young child, what would have been helpful for me and for her, what may be helpful for you and your child.
My mission is to give grieving families hope and help parents claim the wisdom and gifts within themselves to choose new dreams for their children and for themselves. My Good Grief Parenting Approach guides families beyond mourning to experience whole, joy-full lives day by day. Good Grief Beliefs provide the foundation for healthy coping life skills, and Essential Messages build resilience and strengthen the parent-child bond.As a family educator, certified Grief Recovery Specialist, and parent coach, my goal is to equip parents with the tools to discover their own heart-led wisdom. Your heart knows what is true, right and lasting for your family. I will be your discovery partner, not a therapist or a grief counselor. You and your child can get beyond the pain. Your lives can be good, and you can even feel joy. Let me give you the essential tools to discover and claim that.
Jesus makes the best lemonade of all. No circumstance is too sour for Him to make sweet. Each batch of lemonade He's made for me has taught me more about the recipe.
He thoughtfully prepared me for this journey as a bereaved mother and parent of a bereaved child. He equipped me throughout a lifetime of speaking to me, touching my life, preserving me, showing me, stirring me, lifting me, being the sun on my back . . . to be in this place at this time.
He placed in me tenacity and insights, compassion and capabilities, to shine light into the dark corridors of loss and illuminate the glittering goodness that is possible with grief. As He designed our human condition, grief is a golden thread woven into each and every person's tapestry. He wove it into mine with purpose that He has shown me and prompted me to share.
This faithful constant relationship is an integral part of my story and my life that is a source of profound awe, gratitude, and joy. I am happy to tell anyone the amazing details that only God could write, the indisputable evidence of His fingerprints on my life and on my daughter's life.
The wisdom gleaned from living and loving, observing and listening, is a gift I am meant to open and share. And all the glory belongs to Him.
I help families heal and move forward through grief after the death of their loved one. With the Good Grief Parenting Approach parents get in touch with their parenting wisdom so they can be confident that they are helping their bereaved young child grieve well and can be hopeful about a future for their family bright with possibilities and even joy.
You turned my mourning to dancing and my sorrow to joy. Psalm 30:11
Good Grief Parenting
Siblings by Heart
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