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Support groups following a family members bereavement

(17 Posts)
Wishitwasntreal Mon 29-Aug-16 22:46:57

I am so ashamed of feeling this way but I need help.
Does anyone know of any support groups or forums for dealing with parents who have been bereaved? Probably not the typical groups, but those who have struggled because of the aftermath of the bereavement. I don't feel comfortable even giving the background here but basically a baby within our family died 2 years ago. This has torn the whole family apart, initially the shock and the loss itself, but also as they have refused to acknowledge babies born into the family sInce our loss. Has anybody else been in this position? I know that I have never experienced anything as horrific as the loss of a baby and even asking this question probably sounds callous and downright offensive but i'm really struggling with the situation.

Thanks to anyone who has read this and sympathies to anyone in the same position. flowers

WillIEverBeASizeTen Tue 30-Aug-16 06:10:07

Have you looked on the bereavement topic on here OP? Masses of support on there. Sorry for your lossflowers

Wishitwasntreal Tue 30-Aug-16 09:47:40

I have checked that topic but the majority of threads are from bereaved parents themselves or those recently bereaved.
I am looking for help with trying to engage with people who continue to isolate themselves. It's hard to reach them as they don't usually return calls/emails. On the rare occassiom they agree to meet up they cancel at the last minute. I don't want to give up on our relationship with them but it's so emotionally draining constantly trying and getting nowhere. Nobody within the family seem to be able to reach the couple (neither his side nor hers).
We're so worried about them. Different family members have different opinions on the situation, some have pretty much given up on the couple, others want to be seen to support them (unknown to the couple themselves) by also ignoring new babies etc. Its tearing us all apart. I can't let them go, they have lost their baby, but I don't know where to go from here.

gingerbreadmanm Tue 30-Aug-16 09:51:32

it depends who it is for and what they hope to get out of it.

my son was stillborn last year and Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death) is a charity that has online support forums and real life forums to meet on a monthly basis.

i have found it very helpful to be amongst people who have been through the same thing and be able to talk about my son without making others feel awkward or not understanding. its a time i can focus on him so my life isnt overrun by that awful experience and loss on a daily basis.

they might be worth taking a look at.

Wishitwasntreal Tue 30-Aug-16 11:31:08

gingerbreadmanm thanks for the reply. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son flowers

The support is for the wider family (aunts/uncles/grandparents)of the baby who died, but not solely in relation to his death, also in dealing with his parents who have isolated themselves from everyone.

We want to help but don't know how. They are virtual strangers to us now. We see them occasionally at family events. They don't want to know about our babies and some family members also choose to ignore the babies as it "isn't fair" on the other couple (obviously not the couples fault). So there's huge issues within the family.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be for them having lost their beautiful son but I often can't understand their actions as they are so hurtful to the rest of the family. This is what I need help with. How do you maintain family relationships with bereaved parents who refuse to acknowledge your children?

gingerbreadmanm Tue 30-Aug-16 11:57:03

honestly, when it happened to us, noone treat us any differently.

in fact by db found out him and dsil were unexpectedly 5 months pregnant just a few months after my ds. they rang and told me as if what id been through had never happened which hurt like f at the time

but i think thats best. yes these horrible horrible things happen but as i tell myself every day, life still goes on. the world keeps turning and you have to get on with it.

i think the best thing here is for people yo act normal, mention the child as often as you like but don't pretend life isnt still going on around them. you all might be careful enough to do that but in real life if the next door neighbour has a baby or the lady on the till in tescos they are not going to pretend that they haven't.

i think the best thing in this situation would be to try and get the right support for the parents. counselling and a support group for them maybe? counselling will be free if accessed via their gp.

if they have isolated themselves maybe a text from time to time to say you are thinking about them. if there is a significant point in what would have been their childs life mention that too so that they know you havent forgot.

its a difficult situation living through something that fortunately.most people will never have to live with. dont underestimate how this has and will affect them for the rest of their.lives.

Wishitwasntreal Tue 30-Aug-16 12:44:07

Thanks for sharing that. I certainly don't underestimate how it has affected them and I know that it has changed them forever.
I can't get help for them as they don't really see/speak to us anymore so we wouldn't be close enough. I text them at every "milestone" I can think of. My ds is just a bit younger than theirs which probably makes it harder for them than it might otherwise have been to maintain the relationship. If I were to have another baby anytime soon I don't think they would be in contact with us again. So as much as I would like to carry on my life I don't think that our family unit would survive it.

gingerbreadmanm Tue 30-Aug-16 13:00:36

in that case i don't know really. it sounds like they have managed to.isolate themselves already and maybe you just have to accept that.

if they are at gatherings in future i wouldn't really make special considerations where children etc are concerned. i know it will be difficult for them but it's life.

i sound heartless especially seen as tho ive kind of been there but i wouldnt treat someone elses children differently because of what ive been through.

its a tough one. people grieve differently i suppose.

if you have no concerns for their wellbeing i would just leave them be.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Tue 30-Aug-16 13:11:14

2 years is no time at all.

Their whole life has changed, they will never be the people they once were again and you might not like that but you need to respect it I'm afraid.

It effects us all differently, there were some years between the death of my son and the death of my daughter and I reacted completely differently with them both.

You also can't force them to acknowledge anyone's child, it's obviously too painful for them right now.

I would send them an email once every 4-6 weeks with general chit chat and continue to acknowledge special days and just leave the door open for them to interact with you when they feel up to it.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Tue 30-Aug-16 13:15:40

I found this on the SANDS site There is a booklet further down the page for family and friends.

Wishitwasntreal Tue 30-Aug-16 13:21:34

Thanks flowers

Wishitwasntreal Tue 30-Aug-16 13:47:22

Thanks elsa i've just had a read of that. I've taken on board what you've said and I have previously mentioned that I don't expect them to be the same people that they were before.
However, it's not really what i'm looking for. Any other suggestions of hiw to deal with the relationship?

gingerbreadmanm Tue 30-Aug-16 15:11:20

what kind of things are you looking for? at the moment it sounds like there has been a bit of a breakdown in the relationship and unfortunately they're two way things.

i think Elsa's suggestion of regular contact is probably the best you can do at the moment.

does their child have a grave and if so do you visit it? i know it may sound silly but thats one thing i have taken quite personally and could probably easily hold a grudge about. their is only my dp and i and his aunt that take flowers to his grave. that's sad and ignorant of all the people around us particularly those with children of their own that i have spoilt year in and year out.

gingerbreadmanm Tue 30-Aug-16 15:21:07

it says in the booklet you can call or email sands for support. maybe you could try that? they will have more experience.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Tue 30-Aug-16 15:49:36

It sounds like there isn't a relationship unless they decide otherwise.

I know it's hard for you and your family, I really do, but it's a million times harder for them.

After my children died I turned into the most selfish person in the world, I had to, it was self preservation. I actually physically and mentally couldn't take on anyone else's feelings or it may well have pushed me over the edge.

It's indescribable how much losing a child impacts your life. People try to help and say they understand but then get a bit pissed off if you grieve too long. It's a very lonely place to be and it lasts forever.

In all honesty it took a good 18 months for me to even accept my son had died, then it hit me like a ton of bricks, it's not unusual to take that long to even begin to acknowledge what happened let alone start the grieving process. With my daughter acceptance came quicker but 2 years into it was still very early days.

If they want to be left alone you have to respect that, just keep the lines of communication open even if you get nothing back for a while.

You can give SANDS a call for more advice, but I'm not sure what you want really. They are grieving.

NothingIsOK Tue 30-Aug-16 17:01:54

Wish, it seems like you are coming from a loving place, and you're sad at the apparent loss of the relationship the parents had previously with the family.

I don't think this is something you can fix, or deal with, or make better. Equally you need not govern your choices based on what you feel will make things worse.

Their avoidance and perceived ignoring or not acknowledging family babies is up to them. You can't make them change to behave in a way you are all more comfortable with.

If it's any comfort, think of it as having had a bomb go off in the middle of the family, with them at the centre of it. It's a battle even to survive, and a lot of irreparable damage has been done, more at the centre, but also spreading outwards from the main blast. It is not the responsibly of those closer in to make their hurts less visible to those further out in order to reduce their pain.

Time will heal a lot of the awkwardness. Two years is barely enough time for them to be able to contemplate the continuance of life and feel that they may one day not feel destroyed every moment of every day.

The way for you and your family to deal with it is to accept their choice to be less engaged with their wider family life. The more you push, or persuade, or make them feel that they are the cause of hurt, the more that will pull away out of self preservation. You shouldn't underestimate the need to pull in your horns and hide away from everything and everyone, even well meaning people whom you love very much.

I know it's hard for you to accept, let alone understand, but please try again to hear what people are saying.

labradorsaregreat Tue 30-Aug-16 21:01:34

Hi, it is an incredibly difficult situation, I can only being to imagine the hurt and frustration all round. I would recommend reading the Grief Recovery Handbook by John W James and Russell Friedman - you can get it on Amazon. It is hugely helpful in helping you move forward through your own loss but equally valuable for insight into grief and helping others. Rather than another story of someone else's pain it gives step by step guidance in how to move forward. Written by a man who had a baby son die. Reading it will help you and maybe then you could suggest reading it to others. There is a UK Grief Recovery website too with articles etc. I found it was the only thing that made sense after my husband died age 41.

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