HANCOCK - Writing about losing loved ones can be a way to help accept their death.
That's the idea behind Art from The Grieving Heart, a local writing competition put on jointly by the Community Coalition on Grief and Bereavement and the Finlandia University Education Department. This year's child and adult award winners read their writing Thursday night at a ceremony at the Finnish American Heritage Center.
"If we help the children of our nation, they'll be better able to express grief and loss," said Barbara Kendall, secretary and board member of the coalition.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Chelsea Whitten, a senior at Chassell High School, reads her winning entry in the “Art from the Grieving Heart” writing competition in Hancock Thursday. Awards were given out in seven categories spanning child and adult writers.
Winners were chosen in seven categories: first through fifth grades, high school and adult.
The subjects of the poetry and prose included an uncle, a cousin, an older sister and even a pet.
Ashley Harma, a Finlandia student who helped judge the competition, said they looked for entries that not only talked about the pain of losing loved ones, but what the survivors gained.
"I thought they were impressive," she said. "They were very touching and moving. Very good."
One such entry was from Chelsea Whitten, a senior at Chassell High School, who won for her memorial, "My Mom Is The Rain." Whitten's mother died when she was 14.
"I now understand," she wrote. "It's not about the loss, the pain, the silent screams for an escape that we hold inside because we feel helpless. It's about what we gain. Granted, I would give anything to have my mom here, in physical form, but it is because she is not that I am able to appreciate her in everything I see, hear and feel."
Third-grade winner and Chassell Elementary School student Kalani Shannon chose his great-grandparents.
"If I could spend one more day with my Great Grandma Heikenen and my Great Grandpa Jurva I would go to my great Grandpa's house and sit with him in his favorite chair ... after that I would go to my great-grandma's house and make sugar cookies with Hershey's in them," he wrote.
Whitten found out about the contest from her teacher Linda Pelli, a health careers instructor at Copper Country Intermediate School District.
She said it was a cathartic experience.
"I did it for my mom," she said.
Garrett Neese can be reached at gneese@ mininggazette.com.