From those first words of a diagnosis, a family’s life shifts to a different journey than expected. This shift, or change, can trigger a grief response. There is a loss of a certain picture you had envisioned for your child, and giving yourself space to process that change will help you to move forward with greater confidence. Grief is not an end, but a passage that we walk through. It is normal to deal with the emotional challenges of grief when a diagnosis is introduced to your family.
This grief is met with an intensified grief in the event of the loss of a child. Losing someone you love is unspeakably difficult. It is more than an event – it is a process. As a parent, we love and lead our children through life and sadly, sometimes through death as well. Surrounding yourself with strong supports before, during, and after your child has died is one of the best things you can do – for both of you.
What works for some, may not work for others. Each of us is unique in our experience of grief and bereavement, and so are the supports required to meet our individual needs. On this page, you will find suggestions of resources that might be helpful to you as you start to find your way. These range from support groups, family/peer networks and organizations dedicated to helping you and your family heal.
Partner hospitals within the WCCHN network all provide support for relatives and those close to patients who have died in hospital. Services range from one-to-one support, practical advice/information and guidance through what needs to be done during this difficult time.
To inquire about grief and bereavement resources, speak with your nursing coordinator or contact us to be put in touch with someone who can help.
Grief and bereavement support can also be found online. We recommend visiting the following websites:
The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
A moving and universal picture book about empathy and kindness, The Rabbit Listened is about how to comfort and heal the people in your life by taking the time to carefully, lovingly, gently listen.
My Love Will Follow You There by Carla Garrett
This intimate story brings comfort to the child and their family during the transition from here to the place we go next. Using poetic language, My Love Will Follow You There tenderly addresses death and uses calming imagery to guide a child through the unknown.
The Light in Me Sees the Light in You by Lori Nichols
An exquisitely gentle introduction to loss, The Light in Me Sees the Light in You is a story about the magical connection between a little girl and a small red bird. The two instantly see eye-to-eye, and see that there is something in each other that transcends time and space – even after small red bird is gone.