Book of Remembrance
The hospital has a Book of Remembrance in which your child's name can be included. The book is kept in the chapel and you may see it at any time. The chaplain will contact to you to ask if you would like your child's name included. Once a year, a memorial service, which you are welcome to attend, is held in the chapel for all the children who have died at this hospital.
Returning to the Hospital
Most parents find that they still have many unanswered questions after they have thought over the period of their child's illness and death. It can be helpful to come back to the hospital sometime later to talk over these questions. If no one has made a specific arrangement to see you again, do not hesitate to telephone and ask for Paediatric A&E, or the Child Bereavement Support Team. Meetings are usually arranged away from the ward or Accident and Emergency Department, but please ask if you would like to go back and visit the staff.
How you Might Feel
The death of a child is one of the worst things that can ever happen to anyone and no one can tell you exactly how you will feel. There is no normal or right way to be and most people experience a whole range of different emotions. Feelings may include disbelief, numbness, anger, sadness, guilt, emptiness and sometimes a sense of relief. These may all be so mixed up that you wonder if you are going mad.
Although you may expect your partner to be a special help at this time, it is common for parents to grieve in different ways and at different rates and many find it hard to help each other. You may both have to acknowledge this and to allow each other space, while finding support in your own ways. Hopefully you will have family and friends who will be there to listen. But you may find yourself having to make the first move by letting your friends know you want their company and that they have not "upset" you if you cry.
If you have Other Children
We are often afraid to talk to children for fear of upsetting them, but this leaves them alone with their fears and fantasies which are often much worse than reality It is most helpful if you can be honest with your children and include them as much as possible, according to their age. Many children will want the opportunity to see their dead brother or sister and say goodbye and also be involved in the funeral. Do not be afraid to show your feelings to your children and grieve with them. They may want to compile a scrapbook of memories; help them to do this as it will enable all of you to share your feelings together. School Nurses and Health Visitors may contact you to offer other children within the family an outlet for their feelings.