Safe Crossings Foundation aims to be a one-stop shop for grief resources in the Seattle area. We have the incredible opportunity to work with individuals from organizations we support. Getting to interact with these passionate people is inspiring and refreshing as we see the impact they have through the support of our donors. One such individual is Madi Musson, who finds every opportunity to work for – and be the bridge among – grief resources in Seattle. A volunteer for Healing Center, Providence, BRIDGES/Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Camp Erin Tacoma and Seattle, Southwest Youth and Family Services, and Safe Crossings Day Camps, Madi does it all.
A third year student at Antioch University pursuing a Master’s in Psychology, Madi is currently writing her thesis on the use of art therapy as a tool for working systemically with grieving families. She uses her artistic talents and creative nature to develop new ways to use art intentionally as a way to process grief. She believes in the importance of a creative outlet for children experiencing grief, and stresses that children will explain what their art means to them, and that’s where much of the processing happens.
“One of the children who did the Feeling Hearts activity used very limited color on the first heart, which represented how the child felt when the loss happened. The child had chosen to represent feelings of anger, confusion, and sadness on this heart through three colors. The second heart, representing how the child is currently feeling, contained more colors and feelings, with flecks of colors to show these emotions. The most rewarding part of the activity was seeing the third heart, how the child hopes to feel in the future. Instead of simply coloring the heart with one color to show “happiness,” the child had created a rainbow-colored heart. When asked “what did you create,” the child shared that “I know I will always miss my person, so some days I am going to be angry or sad, but I also know that some days I will be happy and have good things going on.”
Madi has found success co-facilitating the Feeling Hearts project. Children receive three construction paper hearts to write on and decorate. The first heart represents how they felt right after their loss, the second how they feel now, and the third how they hope to feel in the future. This allows children to think about their healing process, reflect on how far they’ve come, and consider what they’re working toward. This seemingly simple project gives children a loose creative structure to dive into some important grief work.