WHAT IS THE BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUP AT GMCH?
Our Bereavement Support Group is a new six-week virtual support program, beginning in February 2023, for families who have had a child die while being cared for at the House, or have had a child receive respite care here. To ensure privacy, establish trust, and foster a safe space to discuss grief, the group is designed to serve no more than 10 participants at a time.
This support group is a place for parents who’ve experienced a similar loss to come together and support each other, and to share memories and feelings without judgment. Each week, our Chaplain, Leo Keegan, and I will facilitate the group and provide a forum to discuss the components of grief, grieving styles, coping strategies and how to express needs during their healing.
Our goal is to offer this six-week Bereavement Support Group to our GMCH families quarterly .
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THIS SUPPORT ?
As folks walk through their grief, I want them to know that it’s their right to receive this level of bereavement care and support. Everyone deals with grief differently, and that is ok. Grief comes in different forms. Sometimes it can be a gentle ocean wave, or a rollercoaster, or even a tidal wave. Grief is always changing; it’s not predictable. I want people to know that there are strategies to help them cope with grief in its varying forms.
Additionally, there is power, understanding, validation, and healing that come with connecting with others who have a shared experience. Although we never understand each other’s losses completely, because they are so unique to us, there are similarities in losses. It’s important that people know that they are never alone.
WHAT ASPECTS OF THIS SUPPORT GROUP ARE NEW ?
This evolution of the Bereavement Support Group is different because we are asking for a six-week commitment, in a closed group limited to 10 group members. We designed it this way to create an intimate setting that will establish trust – resulting in a safe, private space for participants to discuss and process their grief.
WHAT ADDITIONAL TYPES OF BEREAVEMENT CARE DOES GMCH OFFER ?
Bereavement care has always been a part of what George Mark Children’s House offers families who have had a child die at the House or have had a child receive respite care here. We offer individual counseling, group counseling, a siblings group program facilitated by our Child Life Specialist, and we also offer spiritual support. This exceptional level of bereavement care is available at no cost to our families.
We provide additional bereavement opportunities such as International Children Remembrance Day in December, where we invite all our families whose child has died to honor their children in a candle lighting ceremony. We also host Tile Day, when an artist comes to the House and works with the family to create a legacy tile that will be placed on our tile wall in the beautiful garden at the House. The memorial fountain at the House is surrounded by stones engraved with the names of each child, which serves as an enduring remembrance for families and our staff. Each bereavement event is created to honor the memory and continue the legacy of the incredible children of George Mark.