There’s nothing in life that can prepare you for losing a child, nothing. As bad as you think it might be - it’s worse. Much, much worse. As fragile human beings, we’re not equipped to deal with the searing pain and anguish that, at times, can be paralysing. Make no mistake, the loss of a child destroys the life you had before, even if you’re able to put some of the pieces back together again your life is never the same again. Life changes irrevocably.
Every child’s story is different, some suffer for months or years until they’re no longer able to fight whatever horrible disease has taken hold, while some lose their lives in the blink of an eye. To the parents and families that are left to try and pick up the pieces, it can often seem as if they’re the only ones that have ever had to deal with such pain. It doesn’t seem fathomable that others have also had to go through the pain of watching their child pass away. It can leave you feeling totally alone, even in a room full of people. It’s impossible to know what to do.
Some parents will return to work as soon as they can, to try and bring some normality back to life, while others never return. Some relationships become that strained that parents go their separate ways, while others grow closer. Some parents will go to counselling and want to meet others who have gone through something similar, while that’s the last thing others would want to do. The truth is that a bereaved parent’s grief, and the way that they deal with it, is as unique as the child that they’ve lost. Only they know what helps and what doesn’t.
We know at Love, Jasmine that we can’t fix what’s happened, as we can’t fix it for ourselves. However, we can give families the tools they need to help them deal with what’s happened. For some that might mean they never use any of the services we provide, but some may try it all in the hope that they can find something helps. That is why we’ve taken a holistic approach to providing our services and bereavement counselling in Liverpool. We want to ensure that anyone that wants help from us can get it; we don’t want to turn anyone away.
We hold a monthly drop-in session, facilitated by a qualified counsellor, for bereaved parents and for people who would prefer to meet casually with other bereaved families we have a monthly coffee morning which is open to parents, grandparents, and older siblings and is held In Kemp’s Bistro, in Stanley Park.
We also really believe that self-care is so important when you’re dealing with the trauma of losing a child. That’s why we provide a fortnightly yoga and meditation class for bereaved families as well as providing complementary therapies, which can be provided in the home or elsewhere. We are also looking at ways in which bereaved siblings can also access self-care.
We’ve recently introduced one to one bereavement counselling in Liverpool as well as providing families with the opportunity to do work together as a family with a counsellor. The family group work is valuable as it allows parents and siblings to explore not just their own grief but it gives them a better insight into what other family members are going through.
The most recent addition to what we do is ‘Jasmine’s Retreat’ at Ribby Hall. We know how beneficial it can be to get away for a few days, so we’re now able to offer families short breaks away at no cost. Jasmine’s Retreat is ideal for families with surviving children, but it can also provide a quiet break for parents or grandparents who are looking to get away for a few days by themselves. Jasmine’s Retreat really does provide something for everyone.
There’s no right or wrong way to deal with losing a child, and only the bereaved will know what helps them. All we can do as a charity is support families in whatever choice they make.