Things that helped us
Our recommendations of services that you may find helpful.
Once we stepped back into our home on the 3rd of March, we felt alone. We had to work out, ourselves, as a family, how to cope with the sudden loss of our little boy.
We left the hospital where Elliot was rushed with a generic information leaflet in our hands. The information didn’t relate to our little boy and certainly didn’t relate to the devastation we felt.
The leaflet suggested we contacted a national helpline, staffed by bereaved parents. This could have been useful, but the line was only open in the evenings. We found it took all our strength to get through the day and we had little energy left at night to talk. The other suggestion was towards a national bereavement service that had a local element, we did try them but even after a few attempts they never got back in touch.
So we were left to find our own support and did what we usually did when trying to find information, ‘Google it’. We just put words into the search engine and began to trawl through the wide range of information that came up. This was really hard because the intense emotional state we were in meant it was difficult to evaluate the information we were reading. We felt very vulnerable to the negative information we often found ourselves reading.
Please don’t take this stuff on board. Don’t let other peoples’ negativity and negative experience affect how you manage your grief.
Eventually, we did find some very good websites; we just wish we’d have been directed there at the start as we would have felt less alone.
Below are our recommendations for sites that we found to be really helpful and spoke to us as parents in the language that we can connect with. There are of course so many other good sites around but we thought these would be useful to pass on for now.
A site that we wish we had found months earlier. The information and language it uses talked to us as parents and seemed to understand how we felt without even knowing who we were. The site is very comprehensive and offers support for families, young people as well as professionals.
Below are some useful links that take you straight to some really helpful sections.
Support: This is a useful starting point to see what support is available, including a free telephone line and email support. There is also a directory that help you find out what support may be available in your area.
Families Forum: this is really good to either just read the posts or post something yourself. All the members are parents who have lost a child and they are at different stages, may be a newly bereaved parent, one of a few months or years. It helps to see the different stages people are at but also an opportunity to communicate with people who will understand how you are feeling.
Young People: this is really good as it is information written by young people for young people, including stories and short films. These pages were useful for Emily and Oliver.
We really like this site, it is written in such a compassionate and caring way, and very much from a bereaved parent’s perspective. We feel that this creates a connection with us as parents who have suffered a personal loss of a child. It has a really useful guidance section. For example advice on how to deal with relationships as possible communication patterns can change as partners grieve in very different ways. It has sections on Poems, Books, Alternative Therapies and blogs from bereaved parents.
A charity that is based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and Horsham, West Sussex. It focuses on supporting children after the death of a parent or sibling. Winston’s Wish use therapeutic input from bereavement professionals in an individual, group or residential setting. They have a helpline and website support.
This is a worldwide charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents who have suffered the death of a child. There is a real recognition of a bond with others who are similarly bereaved. They have an office in London, reading the Psychological, Emotional and Physical effects of bereavement offer a clear, ‘that’s me, that’s my experience moment’ of our own grief. The family and social aspects of bereavement are also an interesting set of observations.
This is a really practical website and gives information about the difficult and sad elements of what practical things we have to do when our child dies, including registering a death, post-mortem information, funeral directors role and information about the Child Death Review Panel. It is a site that is useful for friends or family to look at to help the bereaved families, especially when doing the basic of things is so hard.