Children’s Grief Awareness Month

Butterfly Wings Art

November is recognized globally as Children’s Grief Awareness Month, symbolized by the blue butterfly which represents hope. When someone in their family dies, grieving children and youth can be the ‘forgotten mourners’, so it is important to let them know we are here for them.

Lighthouse helps to raise awareness for children’s grief through a variety of initiatives and events leading up to Children’s Grief Awareness Day, which takes place annually on the third Thursday in November.

Read on to see some of the Lighthouse initiatives from 2022 that helped to raise awareness for children’s grief.


Community Art Project

Lighthouse initiated a community art project with Walden International School of Oakville in honour of Children’s Grief Awareness Month.

Lighthouse collected messages on butterflies from the community that carry messages of hope, love, and support for grieving families. Students at Walden School used these butterflies to create beautiful and impactful artwork that was on display at Queen Elizabeth Community & Cultural Centre, and Trafalgar Park Community Centre in November and December 2022.

Many thanks to Barb Hewitt and students at Walden International School of Oakville for the tremendous work and passion that went into building these beautiful displays, and to the Town of Oakville for displaying the artwork to help spread our message.


Beyond Art

Lighthouse partnered with Oakville Galleries on their ‘Beyond Art Box’ Winter Edition — a curated box of art supplies and activities for families, weaving in messages of staying connected to loved ones near and far throughout the holiday season.

The Beyond Art Box is an initiative that supports Lighthouse for Grieving Children and Families and Oakville Galleries Art Programs, which provides quality art education for all ages. Every box purchased includes a donation towards both organizations and you may also choose to purchase a box to be donated to Lighthouse.

Price: $75. To purchase a Beyond Art Box, please visit Oakville Galleries website.

The box includes:

  • Three art supplies
  • Two artist-led tutorials for creating art at home
  • The Invisible String Book
  • Limited edition TY Beanie Baby
  • Family Membership to Oakville Galleries which includes 15% discount on classes and camps
  • Coupons for use at businesses in the downtown BIA


Grief Reflections

Thursday November 17, 2022 marks Children’s Grief Awareness Day (CGAD), an important day to reflect and acknowledge the 1 in 14 children and youth that have experienced the death of a parent or sibling by the time they turn 18.

In 2021, Lighthouse for Grieving Children and Canadian Alliance for Grieving Children & Youth (CAGCY), initiated a special project called Grief Reflections where Canadian athletes who have experienced grief as a child or youth, were asked to reflect on their unique grief journey and how it has impacted and shaped them.

The objective of this campaign was to spread awareness of the impact of child grief and reinforce the importance of the resources and supports available to grieving children and their families, by having Canadians watch and share the campaign video, and donate to help ensure no child grieves alone.

Campaign Athletes

Kaleb Dahlgren is the former assistant captain of the Humboldt Broncos and one of thirteen survivors from the fatal 2018 bus crash, Kaleb experienced the tragic deaths of his friends, teammates, and coaching staff.

Will Petschenig is an unrestricted free-agent hockey player, previously playing for teams in the ECHL and Swiss League.  Will lost his father Dan, who was a former Toronto Argonaut, to a pulmonary embolism in 2013. Will wears #65 in his father’s honour and is spearheading the opening of a children’s grief center in Durham region to support children experiencing the loss of a loved one.

Click on the athletes’ names to view their full stories on our YouTube Channel.


Shining Blue

Shining brightly over the Oakville Harbour, the Tannery Hill Beacon and Oakville sign were illuminated in blue for Children’s Grief Awareness Month, sending hope to grieving families everywhere. Many thanks to the Town of Oakville and GVA Lighting for making this possible.

On Children’s Grief Awareness Day, Thursday November 17, 2022,  the following monuments were also shining brightly in blue: The Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square, CN Tower, Mississauga Clock Tower and the Burlington Pier.


Our home at 2522 Rebecca in Oakville, was also transformed into a blue beacon of lights. Visitors are always welcome to stop by and take a moment to pause and reflect in the Memory Garden.





In Novebmer 2022,  Chrissy’s story book, ‘He’ll Always Be My Dad’ was featured in the StoryWalk at Tannery Park. Author, Chrissy Lilly, is one of our Lighthouse families who has hosted many fundraisers over the years to ensure that every new Lighthouse family who have lost a parent, receives a free copy of her book.

‘He’ll Always Be My Dad’ is a story of two young sisters whose father died, and their journey towards coming to terms with the unfairness of it all. Through their grief they ask questions to try to understand and remember that no matter what, he will always be their Dad.



Thank you to Chrissy and her daughters for sharing their story, and to the Oakville Public Library for featuring Chrissy’s book in the StoryWalk.

‘He’ll Always Be My Dad’ can also be ordered on Amazon.

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