A bereavement circle for families that have lost a child

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Fifteen parents experiencing grief over the death of their children came together for the launch of Bereavement Circle on March 23.

An initiative of Golden Butterflies Children’s Palliative Care Foundation and Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, this support group plans to meet twice a year.

“These 15 parents are going to be our ambassadors, helping other families cope with the loss of a child,” says Stella Matthew, managing trustee, Golden Butterflies Children’s Palliative Care Foundation.

When children with paediatric cancer show deteriorating health, doctors do tell them a few weeks in advance, says Stella. These ambassadors would come in by sharing their stories of coping with the grief and helping find some support.

“Offering a safe space to vent out is one of the best ways to offer compassion and understanding,” says Stella.

The ‘Bereavement Circle’ is open for paediatric palliative care and other lesser known diseases as well. “We want more parents to join this circle and give strength to those coping with a loss,” says Stella.

At the event, parents, siblings, doctors, nurses, counsellors and social workers come together to share their stories.

Parent Subhashini, who had lost two sons, shared her story. “Sadness never leaves; it just changes in degrees with the passage of time. I know if I stay sad then they will worry about me, so I try to be strong for them,” she said.

Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, chairman, Pallium India, who travelled from Kerala, and Dr. Julius Scott, head of department, Paediatric Hematology and Oncology, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research also spoke. Dr. Rajagopal said when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness and dies, it is the sibling, who along with the family members, that suffers the most since his/her world is shut and they may hear about it from the neighbour or at school in hushed tones. These are unseen markers of grief, said Dr Rajagopal.

To join the circle, contact 6380660206 or email letschat@goldenbutterflies.in

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