Invisible String Ornament

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan Grief Counselor Cate Jarvis shares an activity based on the book “The Invisible String” that can serve as a beautiful reminder that we are connected to our loved ones through "invisible strings".

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I start this activity by reading the book The Invisible String by Patrice Karst.

Book Cover

I like this book because it’s short and to the point, and keeps kids and teens - yes teens - interested.  I also like that it addresses the feeling of missing a loved one by reframing it as we are still connected to each other by love - the invisible string.

After we read the book, we talk about the ways we are connected to our loved ones, through stories, memories, objects, songs, and events.


Supplies you will need to create the ornament:

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  • Markers-fine tip permanent markers work the best for writing on paper.  Metallic permanent markers work best for writing on the outside of the ornament.
  • Clear plastic fillable ornaments
  • Papers cardstock of various colors. - Kids like to choose their favorite shades of pink, red and white.
  • Heart shaped paper punch
  • Some kind of filler - I used fake snow, which was very messy but the kids like it.
  • String or ribbon to tie on to the ornament.
  • Fine tinsel or sting for the “string”
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch

A few simple instructions:

Kids can choose to write the person’s name on the heart, a message or leave it blank before they place it inside the ornament.  They can also put more than one heart in the ornament if they choose.  Don’t forget to punch a hole in the heart for the invisible string to tie to.  Sometimes they want to decorate the outside of the ornament which is ok too! Then get out of the way and watch the kids create their ornament.


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Although I have done this activity at Christmas time - ornaments are more readily available in craft stores - it’s not just a once a year activity. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, these are all times in which kid and teens miss their loved ones and need to feel connected to them. The ornament is also something that can hang in a window all year long.

Cate Jarvis is the Grief Counselor for Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan’s Grief 101, In-School Program in Kalamazoo Public Schools.  Cate has served as the grief counselor since the inception of this innovative school program in 2006. The program supports students from diverse backgrounds who are grieving due to the death of a loved one, loss of their home, divorce, incarceration, or foster care. Small group sessions are held at the schools during the school day.

For more information regarding this program, please contact Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan at 269.345.0273.

National Hospice Association Resources

This list is provided for information purposes only. We are not recommending any specific group or agency. Scroll over links to activate them.

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO):

Caring Connections (NHPCO):

Palliative Doctors:

Hospice Foundation of America:

National Hospice Foundation:

Grief Support Resources

For support along your grief journey. This is a partial list of available support online. Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan does not endorse any specific internet sites and encourages using caution when disclosing personal information.


The Dougy Center: (for adults and kids)

Griefwords Library:|/griefwords

Hello Grief:

Michigan Network for Grieving Children:

Willow Green:

Caregiver Resources

Alzheimer's Association
Michigan Great Lakes Chapter
Support for caregivers and families.

Area Agency on Aging, IIIA
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services
Community planning and administration of state and federal funds; referrals to community resources for those caring for an elder.

City of Kalamazoo Transportation Department
Handicap accessible transportation for Kalamazoo residents.

Eldercare Locator
Assists in locating local support resources for older Americans anyplace in the United States.

Kalamazoo Department of Human Services
Determine eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps for Kalamazoo County residents.

Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors
Toll Free: (800) 347-5297
Toll Free: (800) 347-5997 Pension Rights

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program,1607,7-234-43230_46224---,00.html
3299 Gull Road, P.O. Box 42, Nazareth, MI 49074
Tel: (269) 373-5157
Fax: (269) 373-5185
Advocates on behalf of nursing home residents.

Medicare Social Security Administration
Social Security: Toll Free: (800) 772-1213
Medicare Helpline: Toll Free: (800) 633-4227

Senior Services, Inc.
Assist in locating services and resources for the care of adults 60 and older. 

Home Care
Assistance with personal care, light housekeeping and respite care for Kalamazoo county residents, 60 and older.

Meals on Wheels
Home-delivered meals to homebound seniors unable to prepare their own meals.

Senior Services, Inc. 
Caregiver Resource Center
Tel: (269) 978-0085 / Toll Free: (800) 711-2113
Informational materials, referrals to community programs and services for those caring for an elder.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs