CHOC Bereavement Support offers love, acknowledgement and understanding to the bereaved.

At CHOC KZN we understand the loss of a child is devastating and its consequences are long term. We acknowledge the process of grieving and our relationship with parents and families continues long after the loss of a child to childhood cancer. Our support is offered through the facilitation of the CHOC Bereaved Parent Support Group and every year on the last Saturday in November we host a remembrance service in all our regions to celebrate the lives of children lost to childhood cancer. This helps to reconnect bonds formed during treatment. Below is a letter from a bereaved parent who is part of the CHOC Bereaved Parent Group.

Below is Letter from a bereaved parent Monique Pietersen

“Hope begins in the dark; the stubborn hope that if you show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work, you don’t give up.”

Anne Lamont

Dear Friend,

With the death of a child you are caught up in a paradox: you feel there’s nothing to wish for anymore, yet you also long for restoration of hope. As Anne Lamont notes, hope actually has its new beginnings in that every darkness is a seed hibernating, waiting for sunnier times to nurture it to vibrant life. 

What hibernating seeds is she referring to? These are very personal and dependent on individual issues and circumstances. Many in that wider society of the non-bereaved believe its right to “get on with your life”, to be thankful for your other children, to be grateful that a sick child’s suffering has ended. Of course you give thanks for every moment for the safety of your surviving family, but how does that take away the hurt of losing one other child? Naturally you are relieved that your beloved child is free from pain but that doesn’t lesson your agony and your yearning for a different scenario. As for getting on with life… well every day we get up although we long to pull the covers up over our heads and blot out the ache in our hearts. We go through all the motions of living despite feeling engulfed by all the effort it takes. Is it “right” that we have to conform to others’ ideas of what is deemed appropriate and correct? Or should we strive to handle our lamentable situation in our own way?

Whatever your special issues and circumstances are, the dawn that comes eventually is the result and a reward for your own attempts and decisions. You will be guided by groups like CHOC, but ultimately what is right for you, at the right time for you, is right. You may not think now, that a dawning of hope lies ahead, but it does, and with it comes the brightness and warmth of many days of solace and serenity.

I had the incredible blessing of flying a paper aeroplane from the top of Sani Mountain this month as part of my journey remembering my Joely who passed away on 19 September 2008 at the tender age of 8 due to brain cancer. As a bereaved parent I am able to offer some guidance, love and support to CHOC’s Bereavement Group. We would love to include and acknowledge the birthdays of our loved ones and the anniversary of their passing. We invite you to email with these dates for acknowledgement in our newsletters.

Your loved ones are missed and are so important to us all at CHOC. For those wanting to join our monthly tea, call CHOC office on 086 111 2182 for more details.

Much love,

Monique Peterson

082 677 39 71

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