Its every parent’s worst nightmare and something that nobody even wants to think about but would you know where to turn for help if your child died?
Many people assume that support is given to parents that lose a child in our children’s hospitals but from my own experience of losing my son, I can tell you that is NOT the case in Glasgow or Edinburgh. I like so many other families left with my son’s things in a bag and nowhere to turn for help.
Many people ask if Brightest Star charges for its services and many people ask if we get government funding for the work that we do. The answer to all of these questions is no.
Many families have to take time off work after the death of a child, many of them don’t get sick pay and many people can end up losing their jobs. People don’t realise the costs that are involved in a child’s funeral as it can often costs thousands of pounds. The funeral is the last thing that a parent can do for their child so for many people, the cost isn’t the 1st thing on your mind and the rolling costs can lead to debt for many families. Where then can those families find more money to use for counselling or bereavement support for their other children?
After 6 months I had to return to work, not because I was ready to go back but because my bills didn’t stop and I couldn’t afford for my wages to be halved. I was struggling emotionally and mentally at the time and went to see my counsellor weekly. Every parent that receives counselling from Brightest Star costs the charity £35 per hour. Could I have afforded £35 per week to see my counsellor if I didn’t have a wage coming in? Probably not.
Many families have remaining children who are also deeply affected by the death of their brother or sister. Those children can suffer from loneliness, anxiety, depression, fear, anger and extreme sadness. Every sibling that receives 1 hour of play therapy costs Brightest Star £40 per hour. If I had remaining children, could I have afforded £40 per week to get them help onto top of my £35 per week for counselling and all my household bills? Definitely not.
We don’t charge families for any of the services that we provide for them, yes they can make a donation if they wish, some will go onto fundraise for us but there is never any expectation or requirement from families that use our services. The government doesn’t pay for those services, those services are NOT provided in our adult or children’s hospitals, those services are provided by Brightest Star and funded by your donations. That is why we need your help more than ever and why we are asking you get involved in our events this year.
There are so many different events for all ages and abilities, from children to adults. Maybe you would like to organise your own event or nominate us as charity in your school or workplace. No event or amount of money is too small; every event raises awareness of the charity so that people do know here to turn if their child should die and every pound that is donated goes directly to supporting families that lose a child.
Please get involved this year, why not tag a friend or two in this post and ask them to take part in one of the events with you. Let’s ALL get sharing, liking and commenting on this post so it is seen by as many people as possible.
It is only together that we can make a difference to the life of parents who lose a child.
Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xxx
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