In fall of 2008 life took an unexpected turn for fourteen year old freshman Chris Anderson
, when his
father, hero, baseball coach and best friend, became ill. HHHC provided at home hospice care for Chris's father for ten days in January of 2009, and then his
father requested to be moved to the Community Hospice House.
Chris's father was only at the Hospice House for three hours before he died with his family by his side.
father's final days in great detail, particularly when his
father said to him "you're the man of the house now.
father's words and the responsibilities that would follow. Chris
was the older brother of two sisters, a star athlete, honor student and did his
best to move forward into this new reality, but he
was grieving. When his
mother mentioned a support group for teens the fall following his
dad's death, Chris
decided to give it a try.
Chris joined the newly formed Teen Topics grief support group provided by HHHC in the fall of 2009.
brings bereaved teens together from many communities in southern New Hampshire.
Each session couples a topic related to grief with an activity.
Bereaved teens often feel isolated in their school peer groups as their loss has put them in a different place.
The group is a safe outlet for teens to meet with others who understand what they are experiencing.
has been a consistent participant for three years now saying, "I always feel better after leaving the group.
When asked, Chris
said that each session is helpful but for him the most meaningful activities have been the art projects, and specifically a collage booklet that he
made about his
father. Chris has also played a key role in encouraging more physical activities for some of the grief sessions, including a low ropes course and hiking.
The most substantial contribution that Chris
has made to the group involves preparing his
father's spaghetti sauce recipe for younger bereaved children. For the last two years, members of the teen group have volunteered to prepare a pasta dinner for the families of Good Grief
, the program serving elementary and middle school children.
When the teens decided to reach out to the younger children in this way, Chris
volunteered to prepare his
father's spaghetti sauce.
Some of his
fondest memories of his
father were standing by his
side in the kitchen learning the secrets to his
spaghetti sauce recipe. Members of Teen Topics
work together with Chris
as lead chef to prepare the special evening.
the night is not only a way to commemorate his
father, but also a way to provide hope for the families of the Good Grief
feels it is important for the parents to see that children who go through difficult times are still able to thrive and even to reach out to others. Chris has helped to create one of the bereavement division's most meaningful and celebrated events.
This May Chris prepared his
fifth batch of his
father's spaghetti sauce for the families of Good Grief
In spite of the life altering loss that began his high school career, Chris will graduate in June with a notable record. He has been a National Honor Society member, captain of his football team, state wrestling champ, and influential member of his teen grief group. Chris will be attending St. Anselm College in the fall studying forensic science and continuing to play sports.
For the first time since his
father's death, Chris
also tried out for baseball this spring, a sport once coached by his
Chris has made such a positive impact on Teen Topics that he has been asked to consider training to become a volunteer facilitator for future sessions.
has been a partner for Chris
family in their life's journey.
Although the people and the services of HHHC
have certainly made an impact on Chris
has made an impact on HHHC
by honoring his
father's memory and reaching out to others while doing so.