Sunday, August 26, 2007

Light at the end of the dark tunnel

Losing a child is the worst loss possible. Nineteen percent of all parents in the United States lose a child each year. That is a large percentage of our population. Only in the past 10-15 years has information been available and organizations started to help these parents move on with their lives and their grief journey.

The three that are very active include The Compassionate Friends with over 600 chapters in the U.S.; Alive Alone, for parents who have lost their only child or all their children; and Bereaved Parents USA, similar to Compassionate Friends but on a smaller scale. Compassionate Friends ( meets 1 or 2 times a month where parents can come to talk or just listen to others. It provides support, reading materials and a yearly conference with workshops on a variety of topics. Alive Alone ( does not have meetings, but Kay Bevington, who heads the organization, sends out a newsletter to share grief thoughts and keeps parents informed of conferences. She also has books and videos where experts guide bereaved parents. BPUSA ( provides a network of peer support groups, newsletters and help for parents, grandparents and siblings.

This is a good place to start your grief journey. Meet others who have gone through this or are just starting out. Another suggestion is to read as much as you can. See what other parents have done to move on with their lives and survive grief, and maybe their stories will inspire you also. A few good books to get you started include "I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye," "No Time for Goodbyes," "When Bad Things Happen To Good People," "First You Die," "Roses In December," and "Saving Graces."

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