The dominant grief culture in the United States needs a change. The general population simply does not know how to support people who are grieving the sudden loss of a person let alone a child. This is where the Oregon nonprofit, Buzzy’s Bees, comes into the picture.
Founded in 2017, Buzzy’s Bees is a nonprofit that was founded by Amanda Drews after her son, Hudson, passed unexpectedly in the middle of the night on May 15th, 2016, at 13 months of age. When Hudson passed, Amanda felt a tremendous amount of support from family and close friends, and could not fathom any parent going through something this life-altering without the blessing of resources, love, and compassion. Amanda wanted to offer this to other families in a similar situation.
Today, Buzzy’s provides outreach, education, and resources to help move the dial of supporting grieving families who have lost a child. They do so through their financial support programs and the Give Grief a Voice Project, which provides families who have lost a young child an artistic representation of their child’s life.
The Give Grief a Voice process involves the collaboration of a professional writer and artist. A writer interviews the family in order to ghostwrite the child’s story. Then, a commissioned artist turns the words of the story into a piece of art that the family keeps. The project’s primary purpose is to help families who have experienced the death of a young child. The secondary goal is to help anyone who reads the stories better support grieving people in their own lives.
On September 24th, 2022, Buzzy’s Bees held its 4th annual Give Grief a Voice Art Exhibition and Benefit to showcase this year’s art and provided a space for the public and participating families to gather. As Leeann Rose, a Give Grief a Voice 2022 participant and attendee, states:
This weekend I was surrounded by others who understood, grief wasn’t some topic that was too uncomfortable to even mention. Our children we have lost were talked about, and our feelings whatever they may be were heard, and felt valued and validated. I felt a sense of community with people I had never met before.
At the event, Buzzy’s unveiled this year’s art to the 13 families who shared their stories in a private ceremony, where families who were able to make it in person were led to their art. Over 80 guests settled in with drinks and nibbles, as well as attended a panel discussion moderated by their lead development editor who held a discussion with some of the artists and members of families that participated in previous years. Check out the livestream of the event to hear the artists discuss their artistic processes and how the families have been impacted by the program.
I’m speechless and in absolute awe!! I can’t wait to get this painting home. I’m beyond thankful to Buzzy’s Bees for allowing us to be a part of this amazing program and helping end the silence of child loss grief. – Jonathon and Lisa Wolf, 2022 Give Grief a Voice Participants.
Since 2017, Buzzy’s Bees has showcased that it is important to listen to grieving parents’ stories and assure them that their little one will always be remembered. The Give Grief a Voice artists and writers are paid for their work, and the organization fundraises to cover the cost, which is about $2k per family. There are already a number of families who are ready to tell their stories in 2023! If you know someone who would like to participate as well, here’s the application. Learn more about Buzzy’s Bees’ programs and donate at www.buzzysbees.org.