I recently attended a presentation regarding services available through
my local hospice and was surprised to hear that they provide services
to patients and families of children who are facing serious illness or
death, including unexpected death. The program is called Stepping Stones
and offers counseling, support groups, retreats and education. There is
even a support group for grandparents who have lost a grandchild and are
dealing with both their personal grief and the grief of their child.
Frankly, it was difficult to hear the stories of children dying or even
trying to imagine how their families find the strength to cope with such
a tragedy but I was relieved to hear that Hospice is available to help
them all every step of the way. The Hospice employees went on to describe
how family members assisted by the program have developed such a devotion
to the program’s mission that they have become Stepping Stone volunteers.
It was especially comforting to hear about the services and support available
to the siblings of children who are coping with the rigors of a serious
illness or who pass away. It is easy to imagine the confusion they must
feel and the relief that talking to trained counselors and siblings from
other families who truly understand what they are going through can bring to them.
Fortunately, many people think of hospice in times of grief or suffering
but the suffering can be compounded by not turning to hospice soon enough
for help. You don’t have to suffer alone. Hospice is available,
ready and willing to help so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone
and contact them as soon as serious illness or death impacts any member
of your family, no matter what age.