Being able to speak to other bereaved parents after our sons died has proven to be one of the most important elements of learning to deal with our grief. Only other parents who have gone through it really understand what it means to lose a child. In the United States many organizations exist that organize personal support networks with regular meetings. Some have “international” groups, e.g. one or two groups in all of Canada. One of the bigger Canadian organizations is Compassionate Friends of Canada that has a list of support groups all over Canada. Please check if a local chapter in your area might already exist. We intend to start a network for this province that does not rely on regular meetings, but uses online services to connect individual families together.
Reasons for our approach
- We feel that the local community is important.
- We know that attending a regular support group meeting can require a lot of energy.
If you do not feel it is too difficult for you to attend a personal group meeting, then one of the existing chapters might be right for you. If you prefer anonymity to share your feelings or to discuss issues with other bereaved parents then one of the many online forums might be the right choice for you. If you feel you are not ready for a group yet, but still would need to make some contacts, maybe this network can help. We will focus on connecting bereaved parents from the same region through technology and allowing them to help each other. Personal group meetings might be too difficult for some parents, depending on where they are at in their grief. They might not feel ready to share it with many people at the same time, their grief might be so overwhelming that they do not have the energy to attend or they might not be comfortable in a group setting. At the same time they might feel isolated in their grief and would wish for someone to speak to. This network hopes to address this. There are absolutely no commitments or requirements to contribute. It is fine to simply read what other parents might share. Each person can decide for themselves if they might want to contact other parents (e.g. maybe for a phone call first). If over time they feel that they get along very well and find it helpful for them, the local aspect ensures that it is always possible to organize a personal meeting.
A first step to achieve our goal is a group on Facebook called BC Childloss Support Network which will help bringing together bereaved parents. Please feel free to contact us to join the group. This group is open to all bereaved parents who live in BC, no matter how old the child was or what caused the death. If we discover during the next months that Facebook is not a good choice to organize ourselves, we will put something in place that can meet the group needs.
Having said that, everyone is always welcome to get more actively involved if you are ready for it. Due to our own experience with our sons, the blog entries on this website might focus on the topics of stillbirth and early losses. However, that does certainly not mean that parents who experienced different child losses are not welcome to the network or to get involved!