Group offers support for bereaved parents

The Compassionate Friends has chapters around the world, including in the North Okanagan, and are there for parents who have lost a child

Editor’s note: the following is from The Compassionate Friends.

Losing a child is one of life’s biggest tragedies. Whether you’ve lost a young child or an adult child, the feeling of loss cuts deep; all that promise, all those hopes, all those possibilities for a bright and successful future disappear in an instant. As parents, we are simply not programmed to deal with the death of a child. We accept the loss of our parents and grandparents as inevitable. But losing a child — that’s never something we expect to deal with.

We bring children into the world with great hopes for their future. Never are we prepared to have our child taken away by some brutal accident, war, murder or suicide. None of these possibilities enter our mind until something tragic actually happens.

When confronted with this type of loss, we are shaken to our very core. The experience of losing a child unnerves us. All of a sudden the world we thought we knew is no longer safe. Our remaining children are not safe. We collapse into a puddle of nerves and tears.

While each person’s grief is as different as the individual, the family must learn to live without the child and the emptiness this absence brings. Complete recovery is a myth. Bereaved family members gradually put their lives back together again, but never truly “get over it.” They will never have the same lives they had before. The bond with the child, brother or sister will never be broken, because the love that has been shared will always remain.

In the end it doesn’t matter what took your child from you; the grieving and healing process you must undergo remains the same. Dealing with feelings through therapy, group work and guided journaling are the tools and practices necessary for recovery.

If you are a newly bereaved parent you may find support and friendship through a self-help group for parents who have experienced the death of a child. This group is called The Compassionate Friends (TCF). Within this group, as parents we all share the common knowledge of the agony that comes with the death of a child.

If you are further along on your grief journey you may find it helpful to become active in the TCF organization by giving back. One of the best ways to receive continuing support through the bereavement process is to help other families just starting on their grief journey.

The Compassionate Friends of Vernon has compiled a bereavement package designed to offer comfort and guidance as you begin to grieve the loss of your precious child. If you would like a bereavement package mailed to you, please contact Darlene at 250-558-5026.

If you would like to contact us, at any time, our e-mail address is Vernon@TCFCanada.net. The Internet link to TCF Canada is www.tcfcanada.net. For further information please contact Darlene at 250-558-5026 (Vernon) or Kelli at (250) 379-2465 (Falkland).