We often step in to help families dealing with grief. Parents who lose a child are often struggling so much with their own grief that they are unable to guide their surviving children through it too.
This was the story of the Champion family when their one-year-old Imogen died suddenly.
Mum Emily recalls the help and support HOLG gave to her, husband Colin and their three children.
“As a family we needed HOLG’s bereavement support after our 22-month old daughter Imogen, collapsed and died suddenly at home in June 2016 after suffering from portal vein defects from birth. Our other three children were struggling to cope, each displaying different symptoms of grief.
Our five-year-old son was extremely angry and confused and kept demanding to know why Imogen had to die when none of us had to die at the age of just one, and would become aggressive and hard to cope with if he wasn’t in control of the situation. One evening things became so bad that we had to tell him that the police would come if he didn’t stop screaming, throwing toys, hitting us and get into bed. We had never experienced anything like that before with him and it was during the worst time of our life, so we were really at breaking point.
Our 11-year-old daughter was understandably very withdrawn and sad, spending lots of time in her bedroom. We knew that she needed to talk about Imogen and how devastated she was, but it was unbearable for us to hear how she was feeling as we were heartbroken ourselves, just about coping with the daily routines. We were unable to deal with her pain on top of our own.
Our 15-year-old son found it embarrassing to speak about what had happened to friends as he became so upset, and they openly told him they had no idea what to say to him about Imogen’s death.
It was the psychologist at King’s College Hospital who offered bereavement support for our children and we accepted straight away. The psychologist referred us to HOLG and one of their team came to our house and discussed the help they could offer us. It was such a relief to know that the children would get the help they needed and we would have support to try to rebuild our lives. The children attended one of the bereavement weekends, with support delivered through practical activities like making memory boxes and creating artwork. They were also helped to understand their own emotions and they found out helpful techniques for dealing with their grief.
The weekend was amazing for our children as they enjoyed themselves, at a time when they really needed some fun.
We are so grateful to HOLG for the fantastic work they do and for the support they offered us all during a devastating time. Thirteen members of our family took part in a 5km Colour Run in Deal in June 2017 in memory of Imogen and we raised over £1,200 for HOLG. We now do it every year to remember Imogen and to raise money for HOLG.
Holding On Letting Go is a fantastic charity that offers essential support for children and their parents during very sad and difficult times. The work they do and the help they offer, is literally life-changing for families, and we are proud to raise money for them to enable more families to benefit like we did.”
You can find out about our bereavement weekends here or you can contact us if you or someone else needs our help.
There is no cost to our families for the support we give.