BBC Children In Need – Coping with the death of your Mum or Dad.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
I was very honoured to have been asked by the BBC to visit Sam Beare Hospice for Children In Need and to find out where the money raised goes.
Imagine you are 8 years old and your Mum comes and sits on the end of your bed and tells you that she has terminal cancer and won’t be around for your 18th birthday……..
Imagine you are 13 and you need to go shopping for your first bra but your Mum died 18 months ago and she’s not there to help you on this milestone in your life…….
Imagine you used to love going to gigs and concerts with your Dad but he died last year and when you go to a “Take That” concert with your Mum and brothers and sisters he’s not there …….
Imagine you had planned a hiking and camping trip with your Mum but she got too ill to go, but the wonderful Julie Cole from the Sam Beare Hospice takes you on a Survival trip instead, helping you to learn how to manage in the wilderness building a camp fire and being with a group of other young people who have also lost a parent to Cancer, MS or Leukaemia and you wear your Mum’s boots, her Cagoule, her fleece and her track suit, that she bought for the trip, to help you feel your Mum close to you.
These are the stories of children who have suffered the loss and bereavement of a Mum or Dad.
These are the stories of children who don’t understand why their parent was taken from them and feel enormous anger, grief, confusion, loneliness and sadness.
Julie answers their questions.
Julie and her team of highly trained counsellors, offer practical and sensitive support for bereaved children within a safe environment. Children, from toddlers to teens, are able to explore and make sense of their feelings and reflect on the different aspects of grief and remembering.
They create Mandalas which serve as a reminder of the impermanence of life, they make beautifully personalised remembrance candles and use puppets to express difficult emotions, they make Remembrance Quilts, or pillows made out of their parent’s shirt to cuddle when they go to bed. They have all sorts of creative ways to allow the children to express their grief, and to celebrate their parent’s life and they learn over time, to accept what’s happened to them and begin to enjoy being together with other children who understand as they move on with their lives after losing a much loved Mum or Dad.
Grief is a process and I wrote about handling grief and bereavement in my “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” book as most people don’t know what to say or how to react when a child tells them that their Mummy or Daddy has died. I had first hand experience of a little eight year old boy arriving in my class on a Monday morning after his Dad had died the night before of a brain haemorrhage as his mum was unsure what to do and thought keeping to a routine would help.
You can read my article about the importance of rituals, and what children going through loss need here.
Julie also works with schools to educate teachers how to handle loss and grief.
Julie will answer the tough questions of what happens at a cremation, what a coffin is for, to where has Mum gone, to did I make Daddy die because I was naughty, and what do I have to do at a funeral. Julie is compassionate, kind and there for the children supporting and making sense of what has happened to them. She is also there for the whole family but she needs money to fund this free service for children.
She needs your donation now to Children In Need to continue with her very important work.
I asked Julie what her vision would be for the Sam Beare Hospice if money was no object, and I could wave a magic wand and create the perfect place and resources for the children who need her help. I have asked her to send me her vision so you can help me make that vision a reality in the next 3 years.
Every important discovery, every important piece of new technology, every important change or every important creation began as a dream, a vision and wish ……
Here is an article I wrote after visiting the extraordinary Rosie Mashale in South Africa in February after a 10 year gap and you can see how one woman’s dream changed the lives of hundreds of orphans.
How can you make a difference today?
We can help make Julie Cole’s vision come true for the children she works with and helps.
Please help to fund the extraordinary work of The Sam Beare Hospices to make life for children struggling to come to terms with losing their Mum or Dad a less traumatic experience.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW => Children in Need
And pick up your fund raising pack here to join in
Tune into BBC One on Friday November 18th from 7pm and donate on your phone.
Please forward my blog onto your friends, please RT on Twitter, pass forward on Facebook and pass on as an email to all your friends, family, schools and all the parents you know because as Helen Keller once said;
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much”