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Sibling Support

Can you imagine telling your son or daughter that their brother or sister has died?
Can you imagine knowing that for the 1st time as a parent, there is nothing that you can do to protect them from pain or hurt?
Can you imagine trying to deal with the death of one of your children whilst still trying to parent other children? Trying to cope with your grief whilst, trying to help your child to cope with their grief for their sibling.
Jack was an only child so I can’t imagine ...what other parents go through. I know how much of a daily struggle it is to process my own feelings and grief without still having to be a parent.
On the night that Jack died, I can vividly remember thinking about Jacks closest friends. All I kept saying was “how will their mums and dads tell them that Jack has died?”, “how will they understand this?”, “how will this affect them in later life?”.

We have two spaces available with our children's worker at Brightest Star. If you have a child that you feel needs support and you would like more information on our service then please get in touch via private message or email.

If you are considering bringing your child to Brightest Star for one to one support, this will also give you an idea of the work we would be doing with them. I can’t thank Toni and Austin enough for sharing their experience of grief and Brightest Stars sibling support with us, this was such a brave thing to do and thanks to you, I am very sure Brightest Star will be able to support many more young people after the loss of their brother or sister.
https://youtu.be/d-rN6m7y1Z4

“I came into this hospital with my son and I am leaving with a bag

“I came into this hospital with my son and I am leaving with a bag”.

I will never forget saying those words leaving my mouth or how I felt walking out that hospital without Jack. Looking at that blue bag still haunts me, I should still have Jack at home, not that blue bag.

Hearing Kim Marsh on Coronation Street say “I went into hospital with a baby and left with a leaflet” vividly brought back so many painful memories of losing Jack. For thousands of families across the UK, ...I can imagine this storyline has brought back so many memories of losing their baby, child, son or daughter of any age.

Losing your son or daughter is something you think happens to other people, it’s something you see on the news or read in newspapers but it’s something that you never imagine will happen to you, until it does. In that moment, your life, your past, your present and your future changes forever. One day you’re a mum/dad, the next day your nothing. One day you are doing the school run, making dinner, doing the best time story, the next day your life is empty and meaningless. I describe it as someone putting a bomb under your life overnight and then spending the rest of your life trying to fight your way through the rubble.

I don’t know what it’s like to lose a baby or have a stillborn child and I won’t pretend that I do. I know that I was lucky to have my son for nearly 6 years. I was very naïve when I was pregnant with Jack, I didn’t even know that it was possible to have a stillborn baby and like many others, I took for granted that fact that I had given birth to a healthy baby. This morning I saw the cuddle cot being used during Coronation Street and it confirmed the need for these and the CoverCool and why we are raising money for them. https://www.justgiving.com/…/br…/CuddleCotAndCoverCoolAppeal

What I do know is that we need to raise awareness of babies and children dying and the support services that are in place for families that lose their son or daughter. Brightest Star supports families that lose a son or daughter of any age, from any cause of death but these services should be readily available in every hospital and maternity ward. Sadly that is not always the case and it’s the very reason why Brightest Star exists. To prevent people leaving with the blue bag that I received and nowhere to turn for support, we have designed memory boxes that are available for hospitals or individuals upon request and we offer support groups in Glasgow and Edinburgh and counselling sessions at our Linwood Hulks Haven.

As I always say, if you know someone who has lost a child, please acknowledge their child where and when you can. It doesn’t matter what age the child was or how long ago they died, they are still part of someone’s family.

Its only together that we can raise awareness of babies and children dying and the support services that are in place for families that lose their son or daughter, please help us to do so.

Arlene, Jack’s Mummy xx

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Spending Precious Time

Spending time with your son or daughter is such a precious thing.
Spending time with them after they die feels even more of a precious. Your son or daughter dying is something that no parent wants to think about but I know when my son died, I was very anxious about the very little time I had left with him before he was buried. In the hospital ward, you can only spend a small amount of time with your child before they need to be transferred to the mortuary. Mortuaries also have opening and closing hours so again families are restricted to the times they can see their son/daughter For some families this can be really distressing and the use of a cuddle cot for babies and a cooling system for a child/teenager/adult can prolong the time the parent has with their son or daughter on the ward.

I had previously heard of cuddle cots and the comfort they brought families who had experienced premature or still born births. The cuddle cot allows the family to take their baby home and this is invaluable to those parents. I had never heard of a covercool until I did some research into what was available for toddlers, teenagers/adults. A covercool works similar to a cuddle cot but it is larger so it can be used on older children. I recently spoke with a family who were able to bring their child home for a few days before their funeral thanks to the use of a covercool and I wish I had known about them sooner.

For me, I didn’t want to see Jack in a coffin so we were able to bring him home and have him in his bed the night before the funeral. The house was busy with people coming and going all night and that’s a regret that I live with, I wish I had been able to spend more time with my son that night. By having a cooling system, people could bring their son/daughter home for a longer time and allow more precious time with their child and to say their final goodbyes.

Sadly many children, die in our children’s hospitals every day so we would like to purchase and donate a covercool system to the A & E department at the Queen Elizabeth Sick Kids as we know this is something they need and would get great use out of. This would allow families to spend more time with their son/daughter on the ward before they need to be transferred to the mortuary. In the future, Brightest Star would also like to purchase a Covercool system and Cuddle Cot to store at Hulks Haven in Linwood so funeral parlours and families can use it to take the child home before their funeral service. Sadly something like this is not seen as a necessity to the NHS but to so many families, these can give comfort during the most traumatic time of a parents life.

A cuddle cot costs £1570 and a cooling system £5090 so we really need your help to make this possible, nobody knows if or when they might personally need use of it. Some of our past and future fundraising will go towards this and we have set up a justgiving page especially for this appeal. If you can donate and share this post, then every little will help.

I wasn't intending posting this so soon but the justgiving page seems to got out on social media so thought it would be best to put it out with the story x

https://www.justgiving.com/…/br…/CuddleCotAndCoverCoolAppeal

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2017 Parent Support Meetings

“It took me a long time to attend a meeting, but when I did it felt like coming home or putting a comfy pair of slippers on, feeling support and love in the room with people who you didn't know but you felt as if you had known them all”

“Brightest Star meetings with other bereaved parents is the only thing that sometimes makes sense and it's the only place in which one’s silence is completely accepted, any emotion is. There was never a tunnel only love”.

These are some quot...es from parents who have attended the Brightest Star support meetings. The support meetings are open to parents that have lost a son or daughter, of any age, from any cause of death. The meetings are very informal and there to provide a space for people to talk about their child, their grief, their feelings, their hopes and fears. Some people attend the meetings and don’t wish to talk, they get comfort from just listening to others. Below are the dates for our Glasgow and Edinburgh meetings for 2017, people are welcome to attend either or both.

BRIGHTEST STAR PARENT SUPPORT GLASGOW 2017

Monday 16 January 2017 Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 20 February 2017, Clyde Suite Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 27 March 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 24 April 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 22 May 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 26 June 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 31 July 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 28 August 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 18 September 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 30 October 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 27 November 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000
Monday 11 December 2017, Don Suite, Level 3, Glasgow Hilton, William Street, 1800-2000

BRIGHTEST STAR PARENT SUPPORT EDINBURGH 2017

Wednesday 1st February 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 22 March 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 3 May 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 14 June 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 16 August 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 27 September 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 1 November 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000
Wednesday 6 December 2017, Radisson Blue, The Royal Mile, 1800-2000

Everyone is different, some people find the support groups really helpful, others don’t but I always say that you will never know until you try. If you would like more information on the support groups, then please free to get in touch.

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