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P-242 Grandma on the moon – supporting children with bereavement
  1. Janet Hawksworth and
  2. Helen Brown
  1. Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield, UK


In partnership with Huddersfield Grammar School and AZtoB theatre company, a performance of ‘Grandma on the Moon’ was held in May 2019.

‘Grandma On the Moon’ is a performance exploring a child’s understanding of loss and bereavement. Timmy aged 10, understands death means ‘you don’t come back’, however, Poppy, age 5 doesn’t. She wants to find her grandma to ‘tell her something really important’. Using the imaginative play of children, they go on adventures through lands magical and familiar to try and ‘find grandma’.

‘Grandma in the Moon’ aims to support young people and families through the bereavement process, encouraging us to have open, honest conversations around death. It shows how children grieve differently to adults and raises awareness of different support strategies to help manage conflicting emotions.

The play was performed twice, to two groups of children, with time in between for discussion. 160 children in total took part and feedback and reaction was wide ranging, with tears and laughter: ‘I liked that they told everyone that it’s ok to cry, get angry, or talk about when you lose someone’.

What made this collaboration unique was exploring the intergenerational element, raising awareness of local services and providing a Kirkwood presence in a school setting. This involved a true multidisciplinary team approach, with input across various disciplines within the hospice. A presentation delivered before the performance was designed to be child-friendly, to prompt questions and discussions as well as raise awareness. Children were supported to share their feelings and reactions and chose to share stories of bereavements they had experienced and memories of loved ones. Many wished to be involved in fundraising for Kirkwood.

We are keen to build on the success of the event, through development of a school young ambassador role, exploring ways of linking in with school as community hubs and supporting the theatre company in research for future performances.

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