The evenstar is the first visible star as the day fades to darkness. It is also the symbol of renewal and hope in the dark days following the death of a child. Families whose children have died need help in healing broken hearts and in finding new ways to live and grow.
"When our child died, our whole world was shattered. The sorrow seemed unbearable. Each member of the family struggled with intense grief and experienced and expressed that pain differently."
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has developed a comprehensive bereavement program to help families start on the painful journey of grief. This involves providing a safe place to sit with sadness, to acknowledge its many facets and to begin over time to glue the pieces of life back together.
Although the journey is not easy, we can offer support, hope and guidance to help families begin the necessary process of healing.
At Children's Hospital, we believe that the care of the family needs to continue even if the child has died. We offer many forms of support to help families rebuild their lives after the tragedy.
Throughout the year, we offer support groups for both parents and siblings. These two groups are offered at the same time, so that the family members can learn to cope with their losses together.
We also offer weekend workshops that focus on topics that are common themes for families who are grieving. Workshops include topics such as how to handle the holidays and how to make memory boxes.
Each year, in the spring and fall, we hold memorial services to remember the children who have died in that year. The services are held in Stokes Auditorium and last approximately one hour. The services include music, poetry, readings and the reading of the children's names. Families are invited to include their child's picture in the slide presentation that is displayed as the names are read. The service is followed by a reception in the main cafeteria. Families, friends and staff are encouraged to attend this special time of remembrance.
Each year, on the second Sunday in December, we hold a candle lighting ceremony to honor all children who have died. During this ceremony, we light candles outside the Abramson Research building and read the names of all the children who have died. Families, friends and staff are welcome to join this special evening of remembrance.
Other services available through the program include:
For more information, please contact:
Malinda Ann Hill, MA