Background Parents do not expect their children to die before them yet, every year thousands are faced with this. A Memorial Day can be a time to share in a communal experience of grief and loss. Remembrance is an established principle that helps heal, so we can go on living our lives in meaningful ways. Death may have taken away a person’s physical presence, but they continue to live on in our memories.
Aim Over the past three years, deaths of children who access our services has risen. There has also been an increase in the use of our Butterfly Room, this has included any bereaved families from our county, not necessarily those just known to our service. The day enabled parents, family, and friends to come together to remember their child that died, in a safe and secure environment with staff and peer support.
Method Research was carried out into similar events and families were consulted regarding the format of the event. We advertised through social media and the local press. The outdoor event included:
Poetry and music whilst families reflected and remembered.
A gazebo for shelter, craft activities and refreshments.
Tags for the child’s name to be written on.
Forget Me Not plants for families to take home.
Staff and volunteers from the hospice supported families, feedback was collected.
Results Feedback from all families that attended was that they felt supported; were treated with dignity and respect; timings were right; staff were kind and caring; they would like regular remembrance events.
Conclusion The event will be repeated on an annual basis. We are gathering a database of families who are happy to be contacted about events in order to reach out to more families in the future.
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