Review: HBO’s Documentary ‘One Last Hug (And A Few Smooches): Three Days at Grief Camp’

Everyone has lost someone they loved, and the grief that comes along with it is excruciating. As adults we are able to rationalize the death of a loved one, be it from natural causes, illness, or suicide, but how do you help children cope with those feelings? Director Irene Taylor Brodsky is teaming up with the Moyer Foundation to film “One Last Hug (and a few smooches): Three Days at Grief Camp”. It follows children, most under the age of 10, who have lost a parent, sibling, or grandparent and are having trouble with the profound grief. To help, they are headed to Camp Erin for Grief Camp. They’ll spend three days with other kids who are going through the same thing to varying degrees, and with the help of grief counselors, they’ll begin to understand the grief process and what they can do to make the transition of living without their loved one a little bit easier. There are times when it’s really hard to watch. At the beginning of the camp, the kids each introduce themselves to everyone, then say who they are missing. A picture is then put on a collective memory board. One boy could only say his name before he burst into tears that almost caused him to hyperventilate. There are other kids who have no issues saying who they lost, but throughout the 35 minute film you see just how lost and withdrawn they really are. The camp isn’t always sad- there are activities that allow the kids to be just kids, like swimming and sports, and a scavenger hunt. Behind all of it, though, is a wonderful healing process that is truly remarkable.

“One Last Hug (and a few smooches): Three Days at Grief Camp” premieres on Monday, April 14, at 8E/7C on HBO. For more information on the Moyer Foundation or Camp Erin, visit

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