Support for Bereaved Surviving
& Subsequent Siblings
Our own children were teenagers when our son Dakota was stillborn. I was so bereaved at the funeral service that I couldn't keep track of where our older children were. Now three and a half years later, our daughter is a teen mom to a beautiful baby boy. And our grandson's birth opened all these new discussions about my son Dakota's death.
Our daugher tells me that at the funeral, I was just hysterical. No one knew how to comfort me, but that she just wanted to be near us. Her uncle, unfortunately a clueless & unhelpful excuse for support, tried to keep her away from us. She told me that she had just stopped crying when he made her sit with him. Then she saw me again and I was crying. She began crying again and tried to reach me. Her uncle held her back. She said that eventually her father/my husband confronted the clueless uncle (my husband's brother) and told him to "back off" and then she was able to sit with us.
I have no memory of it. But my stomach turns as I hear it. Why would anyone think that creating more separation and loss for this surviving child would be a good idea when her g*ddamned brother just died at birth? Why would anyone create a situation where my husband, who was as bereaved and crazy as I was, would have to advocate for his right to have his other children with him? I swear to gawd that sometimes, after the death of a child, extended family members turn into a**holes! Probably they always were, but the colors of it show brightly when they are suppose to be helping and offering support.
My point to all this is that, here we are three and a half years later; one of our two other children in college; the other fighting the good fight of being a single, teen mom; and *still* we are dealing with bereavement issues over Dakota's death! Our daughter asked during one of these recent discussions, if she could have photos of Dakota for her son's baby book. She said she felt Dakota was with her as she was scared and giving birth to her son. She wanted to write something and include the photos in her son's baby book to tell the story of this baby's deceased "Uncle Dakota."
My heart just glowed when she told me that. It was a wierd perspective to have though. My dead son was proving to be a better uncle than the living relatives proved to be to all of us after Dakota's death. And I was more convinced than ever that the *WHOLE* family needs to have support and helpful, safe situations where they can continually express whatever grief comes up in the years that follow the death of a child. And with that in mind, my co-editor Katie and I offer these links for finding helpful information for supporting bereaved siblings!
Julie's Place ~ A website for children & teens who are grieving the
loss of a sibling.
Brooke's Place For Grieving Young People ~ Wonderful group in IN!
KISS (KIDS IN SYMPATHY & SUPPORT) ~ via the MISS Foundation
A Place To Remember - a retail site that offers some really amazing support
items; in their bookstore they have a whole section dedicated to children's
books about death, dying, and grief issues. Amazing stuff here:
About the Contributors