Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one. But nothing is more devastating than the death of a child. Thats why Valley Home Cares Maternal Child Health program is augmenting its groundbreaking Butterflies program with a Support Group designed to address the particular needs of parents who have lost a child.
Stepping Stones is designed to provide a safe setting where parents can get support, come to terms with their loss, and begin to work towards healing. By understanding the unique nature of grieving over the loss of a child and sharing their experiences with others in similar situations, explains Mary Ann West, Butterflies Coordinator, parents can begin to pick up the pieces and rediscover a sense of purpose and meaning.
Facilitated by a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a parent who has survived a similar loss, Stepping Stones will meet twice a month beginning in October. The group is open to all parents who are grieving the death of a child age 22 or younger. Each 90-minute session will begin with the exploration of a topic related to grief and healing, followed by interactive discussion. Topics may include:
- understanding the differences in how family members deal with loss,
- helping siblings cope with grief,
- getting through holidays and special occasions,
- avoiding blame,
- the importance of nurturing yourself,
- utilizing support systems, and
- sharing positive memories.
Parents seeking more information on the Stepping Stones support group may contact Bonnie Schneider at 201-291-6243, or Mary Ann West, RN, MSN, CHPN, Butterflies Program Manager, at 201-291-6364.