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Mapping stories

"Without M. it wasn’t really a place, actually it just seemed a whole lot of people in this little room" Grace, age 7. This section explores the idea of story-mapping as a memorial activity with a group of children, with two examples.

Places are defined individually by our experiences and connections within their boundaries. Compared to adults, children have particularly rich use of their environments, which are often deeply imbued with fantasy and collective experience. When children lose a member of their play community, their entire experience of a space can be altered. One way of regaining their relationship with space, as well as re-inforcing and honouring beneficial memory networks, is to create story-maps by the interactive exploration of an environment between an adult recorder and a child or group of children. The physical "map" can be sketched out and marked with a legend referring to a set of stories about what children had done together in various places or their significance in the collective children's play-world. When done with a group of children, each will be able to enjoy both the honouring of their own memories and the gaining of new stories, which gives a the sensation of a further development of the relationship with the child for whom they mourn. Because this development has come from within their "new" framework and networks, these too are strengthened and enriched as part of the transition from the old "experience of being" to the new.

Mapping - In story mapping the bereaved person visits a place in which there are many memories of time spent with the person who died. A sketch or photo is made, and vignettes recollected and referenced to parts of the sketch. This is particularly valuable with children's play

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