HEALING AFTER LOSS: Barbara J. Hopkinson has experienced what few people can fathom: the loss of three children in three different ways, one through a miscarriage, a son who was stillborn, and an adult son killed in a motorcycle accident.
“The death of a child is not normal,” said Hopkinson. “Our children are not supposed to pre-decease us. Our psyche is not prepared for this level of loss. Ripping a child out of a family changes everything.”
While she was grieving her 21-year-old son’s death in 2003, her 30-year marriage fell apart, her remaining son flunked out of college, and her job as an executive at IBM changed dramatically. At age 51, she found herself living alone for the first time.
Her anguish led her to start the Greater Newburyport chapter of Compassionate Friends, an international organization created as a support group for bereaved families.
Simultaneously, Hopkinson began tracking in a journal her own spiritual journey through grief toward healing and happiness.
Eventually, she knew she had to share what she learned from her own experiences and those of other bereaved families she met through the group.
The result is the just-released book, “A Butterfly’s Journey . . . Healing Grief After the Loss of a Child.”
In addition to chronicling Hopkinson’s healing, the book offers insights, tips, and resources to help other bereaved parents and families.
Hopkinson continues to head the local chapter of Compassionate Friends, which just marked its 10th anniversary.
She also has been inspired to help advise workers in hospitals and funeral homes how to console and support families who have lost a child.
With more than 30 years of speaking and writing experience in the corporate world, Hopkinson is also committed to public speaking and the creation of virtual bereavement support groups.
Personally, she has found happiness with her second husband, her son, and three adult stepchildren.
Visit abutterflysjourney.com .
ART FOR KIDS: Arts coordinators, parents, teachers, administrators, and librarians are invited to see the wide range of arts education programming available for students during an artist showcase in Andover next Thursday.
The annual showcase is presented by Young Audiences of Massachusetts.
It features performances and workshops by more than 40 professional artists and ensembles that are available to perform in schools, libraries, museums, hospitals, homeless shelters, and community organizations.
Showcase performances include music, dance, theatrical portrayals of historical characters, puppetry, stories from around the world, theater, and visual art. Artists will present 15-minute versions of their standard presentations.
The programs are designed to foster creative learning and address national and state curriculum standards. Young Audiences of Massachusetts is a statewide nonprofit arts education organization whose mission is to make arts an integral part of every child’s education.
The showcase is 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Pike School, 34 Sunset Rock Road, Andover.
The event is free, but registration is required. Call 617-629-9262, ext.303, or visit yamass.org.
WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Steven Ultrino, who served on the Malden School Committee for eight years and is now a city councilor, has been awarded life membership in the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the highest award provided to former members of school committees in the state. Ultrino was recognized for years of volunteering to benefit children and families through his service on the School Committee and the association’s board of directors. He also is a longtime board member of the Malden YMCA. A former teacher and principal, Ultrino is director of education for the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office. . . . “American Idol” finalist Angie Miller, 19, of Beverly, will perform at the Topsfield Fair at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8. The concert is free with paid fair admission. Miller was one of three final contestants on season 12 of the television talent show. “I grew up going to the Topsfield Fair so I’m very excited to get the chance to perform there,” Miller said. “It will be a thrill to look out at the crowd and see so many familiar faces from the North Shore.” The Topsfield Fair will run from Oct. 4 through Oct. 14.