For each of us our bereavement is our own...
Although various professional bodies can help us at certain times in our bereavement, on an going basis we deal with many issues by yourselves. For each of us our bereavement is our own - unique to us. However the experiences of other bereaved parents may assist us in making choices which will help us day to day.
Some of the questions we asked at different times follow, with some answers that parents have learned through their own difficult times.
Please feel free to take from them as you see fit. Also please email us if you can add anything that, in turn, might just help someone else. Sometimes just knowing that we are not alone and that someone else has felt the same feelings can be of help.
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How do I cope with the despair and sadness?
"Talking to other bereaved parents helped us cope. To be able to talk to someone who knows how you are feeling and who understands all the different thoughts and emotions going on in your head is such a comfort. To be able to talk to others who were travelling the same path as ourselves gave us the hope that we may survive this!"
"Going to the grave helps me. All other fathers go home to their children every evening and I feel that going to the grave is like seeing my son after work. Even though sometimes I might be distrcated by thinking about work, I get some comfort from going."
How do I fill the time?
"When my little boy died, not only was I beart broken, but aslo I had no-one to look after, nobody small to care for (he is our only child). My husband did lots of structural work in the garden (I think the digging and breaking up of hard soil and building took a lot of frustration and anger out of him - better than hitting something!) Then it was time for planting and I discovered a love of gardening. I could spend time out there on my own but occupied. And it helped to be watching the plants and flowers grow, to be minding them, feeding them and watering them. I imagine he can see them. What I learn and practise in the garden I then put to use on his grave, making his own special garden. It by no means takes away my loss but it gives me a focus to nurture and care for something."
"My daughter loved flowers, especially sunflowers. After she died I found the garden a great source of comfort, I dug a patch and named it 'Rachel's Patch'. I propagated little seeds and watched them grow into beautiful flowers or shurbs. I planned it so the garden would always have colour in it. I would spend hours planting and talking to her, I felt I was still doing something for her in this little patch, I took my anger out on the weeds. In wintertime we put out bird seed for the little birds especially the Robins and it's lovely to see them flying in and out of the garden; they get such pleasure from it and we get pleasure watching them.
Family and friends often buy ornaments, wind chimes and solar powered lights for 'Rachel's Patch'. I think that has helped them and on fine days it is such a comfort to take a cup of coffee and a chair and sit there for a while just thinking about her."
"Golf and walking were a help in filling in time and also the fact that I was tired after both helped me to get some sleep whether it was during the day or in the evening."