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"How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts."
– Dorothy F.

Support

If you are a parent, grandparent, or other friend or family member going through the loss of a child, you might be interested in our support groups.

Perinatal Loss Support Group For Parents
2nd Thursday of Every Month
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Pathways Hospice
305 Carpenter Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Child Loss Support Group
3rd Monday of Every Month
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Pathways Hospice
305 Carpenter Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Especially for Bereaved Parents

The loss of a baby or child of any age is an unthinkable loss. The ensuing grief can feel all consuming and the pain beyond description. It is often difficult to find the will to carry on in everyday life and the grief journey can seem endless. The bond between parent and child is so strong and bereaved parents do not "get over" the death of their children.

Some of the things you may experience or feel are (source: www.bereavedparents.com):

  • Depression.
  • A profound longing and emptiness.
  • Wanting to die. This feeling usually passes in time; for eventually you will realize that you must go on for the sake of remaining family members, yourself and your child who died.
  • Profound sadness.
  • Crying all the time or at unexpected times.
  • Inability to concentrate on anything, frequently misplacing items.
  • Wondering "Why???"
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Questioning yourself over and over: "IF only I had…?" "Why didn't I…?"
  • Placing unnecessary guilt on yourself or others.
  • Anger with yourself, family members, God, the doctor and even your child for dying.
  • Fearing that you are going crazy.
  • Great physical exhaustion. Grief is hard work and consumes much energy.
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time to avoid the pain.
  • Physical symptoms such as heaviness in your chest or having difficulty breathing (if these feelings persist see your physician), tightness in your throat, yawning, sighing, gasping, or even hyperventilating.
  • Lack of appetite or over eating.
  • Weight gain or weight loss.
  • Anxiety. (Often associated with overprotective behavior toward surviving children and other family members.)
  • Denial of your loss, thinking that your child will return. (Denial can be effectively treated by spiritual leaders as well as psychologists. Seek help if your denial phase persists beyond a month.)
  • Needing to tell and retell the story of your child's death.
  • Inability to function in your job.
  • Sensing your child's presence, or a scent or touch associated with your child.
  • Having difficulty grocery shopping because of seeing your child's favorite food(s) on the shelves.
  • Irrationally upset with yourself if you smile or laugh, thinking how can I smile, my child is dead? (Your child will want your life to be as good and as happy as possible in spite of death's intervention.)
  • Feelings as if your spouse or other family members don't understand your grief or are not grieving as you think they should. Remember everyone grieves differently.
  • Losing old friends who don't seem to understand your pain and grief.
  • Making new friends through support groups with members who have also experienced the death of a child and therefore understand your feelings.
  • Feeling like you are making progress in your grief work, then slip back into the old feelings. Grief work usually is a succession of two steps forward and one step back over a long period of time.
  • Becoming very frustrated with others who expect you to be "over this" in a month, six months or a year and who say so. Or even being frustrated with yourself for expecting to be "over this" too soon.
  • Grief work from the death of your child is a slow process. Be patient with yourself.

Keep remembering that you are not the only one who has had these experiences. These experiences are all typical, natural and normal feelings for bereaved parents. You cannot ignore them: you must work through them. It will require even more time to feel better if you try to deny your feelings.

There are no timetables for grief; each person must take as long as it takes for him or her to work through these feelings. You will find joy again and you will find ways to honor this profound loss.

3Hopeful Hearts offers bereaved parents opportunities to find hope and seek healing. You will be able to integrate your loss into your life and discover a "new normal" in a world that no longer includes your precious child.

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