Mum reflects on North Herts hospice help during Children's Grief Awareness Week
PUBLISHED: 15:24 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 20 November 2019
A Stevenage mum-of-three has said during Children's Grief Awareness Week that her family "couldn't have coped" with the loss of her husband without the help of Garden House Hospice Care's child bereavement service.
Rita sadly lost her husband to liver cancer at the hospice in November last year.
Their children, who were under the age of 12 at the time, received support from the family support team in the weeks following their dad's death.
Rita said: "Tracey Swinburne - child bereavement co-ordinator at the hospice - met the children for six sessions and used activities to help them to open up a conversation to remember their dad.
"This helped them to feel more comfortable visiting his grave and chatting to him on his birthday during the summer. Without Garden House Hospice Care, we couldn't have coped.
"The help and support I received helped me spiritually, physically and emotionally."
Children's Grief Awareness Week UK - a campaign run by the Childhood Bereavement Network - began on Friday last week and ends tomorrow.
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This year's theme was #LostforWords, and encourages people to use the hashtag to share ideas on social media about how people can help grieving children and their families, even if they don't know what to say.
Tomorrow also marks Children's Grief Awareness Day - initiated by the Highmark Caring Place in 2008 - which is designed to make people aware of the needs of grieving children.
Tracey Swinburne added: "We are very keen that our services reach everyone in our community who needs them.
"Unresolved bereavement can cause huge life-long problems for children as they move into adulthood.
"Any intervention we can make, that children will accept, can really help them further down the line."
Garden House Hospice Care, which is based in Letchworth and serves communities in across North Herts and Stevenage, offers an initial assessments to look to the child's individual needs, which may be followed by one to one counselling.
Staff in schools and colleges can also access this service.
For more information, contact the hospice's Family Support Services on 01462 679540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.