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Using a childhood loss to help others

This photo by Hanover Evening Sun photojournalist Clare Becker will be for sale on Friday, June 6 at York Arts to benefit Olivia's House.
This image by Hanover Evening Sun photojournalist Clare Becker will be for sale on Friday, June 6 at York Arts to benefit Olivia’s House.

Post by Jason Plotkin

She was face down on the floor.

My grandmother had fallen out of bed in the middle of the night. This had been happening so often at the time that she and I would even joke about it. So when I approached to help her up, I was laughing.

She wasn’t.

It’s not an easy situation for anyone to deal with. The death of someone you love is hard enough.

Being the one to find her or him is even harder, especially for a 12-year-old boy.

I didn’t quite know how to process all of this at the time. There were things I knew I needed. Things I didn’t know I needed. But, looking back, there is one thing I wish I had.

I wish I had Olivia’s House.

After my parents divorced when I was 8, I shut down and had a hard time trusting people. My brother and I ended up living at my grandmother’s house with our father.

I didn’t know it at the time, but we both needed each other. I was missing a mother figure, and after my grandfather died years earlier she needed a reason to keep living.

We found each other.

Her unconditional and patient love helped me in ways I didn’t realize until years later.

And after that night when I found her and lost her in the same moment, a place like Olivia’s House could have helped a confused, scared and angry boy.

For those who are not familiar with the organization, Olivia’s House is a grief and loss center for children. Whether that loss is a parent, sibling, friend, grandparent or pet, the center offers a variety of no-cost programs and services to help children work their way through a very difficult time.

I’ve always been a fan of the program. I had covered many stories about Olivia’s House and even volunteered for a few years.

So when an opportunity came up again to help, I jumped all over it.

In a partnership with York Arts and FlipSidePa, I am joining other photojournalists in selling some of our favorite photographs with all proceeds going to Olivia’s House.

The event will be held at CityArt located at 118 W. Philadelphia St. 5-9 p.m. Friday, June 6.

It is part of York’s regular First Friday, and the photographs will be up for sale for the entire week.

For more information about the event, Go here.

And for information about Olivia’s House, check out its website at http://www.oliviashouse.org/

You never know when a child you know may need help from Olivia’s House.

I know I did.