Finding Strength in Loss – Bereavement Loss Project

Grief is a journey filled with twists and turns, moments of darkness, and glimmers of hope. When we started on the journey to create our bereavement program “Finding Strength in Loss- Bereavement Circle” we knew that our mission was not just about providing support – it was about offering a lifeline to those struggling in grief &sorrow.

Our first step was to dive deep into the heart of grief itself. We asked ourselves the tough questions: How do we talk about grief in a way that honors its complexity? How do we recognize when someone is ready to share their pain? And most importantly, how do we create a space where grieving hearts can find solace and understanding?

The answer lay in the details. We carefully curated every aspect of the program, from the comforting items in our “comfort kits” to the thoughtful design of our emotion chart. Each element was chosen with one goal in mind: to convey a message of compassion and support to those in need.

The ‘comfort kit’ filled with items designed to provide solace during moments of overwhelm. Soothing tea sachets, stress balls, stress-relieving aromatherapy scents, simple breathing exercise cards—each item was carefully selected to offer a moment of respite.

We introduced an emotion chart and bead activity to encourage participants to explore and express their feelings in a tangible way. The emotion chart invited individuals to select a color that resonated with their current emotional state, while the bead activity allowed them to choose a bead corresponding to that color and add it to a string. Over time, these beads formed a colorful chain, symbolizing the validity of all emotions and the interconnectedness of our shared human experience. Through these simple yet profound activities, we hoped to create a sense of unity and understanding among participants, reminding them that they are not alone in their journey of healing.

As the day of the event approached, anticipation hung heavy in the air. We were nervous, yes, but also filled with a sense of hope—hope that our efforts would provide a beacon of light in the darkness of grief.

And then the magic happened. Families gathered, hearts open and vulnerable, to share their stories of loss and longing. In those moments of raw honesty, bonds were formed, tears were shed, and burdens were shared. It was a testament to the power of human connection—a reminder that even in our darkest moments, we are never truly alone.

But perhaps the most profound insights came from the families themselves. Their courage to speak their truth and embrace their pain taught us more than any books ever could. We learned that healing is not a linear process – it’s messy, it’s unpredictable, but it’s also incredibly beautiful.

The two major takeaways emerged from our bereavement program, illuminating paths toward deeper understanding and more effective support for grieving families.

Firstly, we recognized the paramount importance of personal connections in fostering participation and engagement. While invitations were extended broadly, it became evident that families were more inclined to attend when there was an existing relationship or trust established with our organization. This emphasized the necessity of one-on-one conversations and personalized outreach, especially for those who may find attending such events daunting or triggering. Building trust and rapport proved to be essential in creating a supportive environment where families felt comfortable sharing their experiences.

Secondly, we gained profound insights into the unique challenges faced by healthcare professionals in navigating grief. Despite their daily encounters with death, many professionals may not have the opportunity to process their emotions or develop effective coping strategies. Through the program, they discovered the importance of empathy, communication, and self-care in supporting grieving families. This revelation underscored the need for ongoing education and support initiatives tailored specifically to the needs of healthcare professionals, ensuring they are equipped to provide compassionate care in the face of loss.

In the midst of our reflections, we received poignant feedback from a participant that deeply resonated with our mission. The parent, who had tragically lost both her sons to a genetic disease, was observed standing strong and offering support to another grieving parent. Her selfless act of compassion and resilience sparked a profound realization within the observer’s heart.

This observer, witnessing the strength and grace of a fellow parent who had endured unimaginable loss, was moved to question her own journey through grief. She pondered why she carried guilt and struggled to move forward when others, like the mother she witnessed, found strength and acceptance amidst their pain.

Through this moment of reflection, the observer experienced a profound shift in perspective. She embraced the belief that her child is in a safe place, and that they would want her to find happiness despite the profound void left by their absence. This powerful exchange of empathy and shared experience serves as a testament to the transformative power of human connection in the journey of grief and healing.

I would like to acknowledge Ms. Arthi PhD Golden Butterflies COO for her inputs.

You can read the media coverage here.

This article was shared and given permission for publication by Stella Matthew, Managing Trustee at Golden Butterflies Children’s Palliative Care Foundation.

Published on: 29 April, 2024 | Last modified: 29 April, 2024