Workshop helps people cope with loss of child 0
The Marguerite Centre was the site of a workshop Saturday held to help people learn to cope with the death of a child.
All personal losses through death are painful, but nothing is as agonizing as trying to cope with the loss of a child.
Watching a couple of friends trying to deal with the unthinkable is what inspired Cheryl Jordan, a board member of the Bereaved Families of Ontario - Pembroke, to help organize the first ever Loss of a Child Workshop, which debuted Saturday at the Marguerite Centre with more than a dozen participants.
"What is unique about child loss is one always feels you're not going to outlive your child, and when it happens, there's no way one can be prepared for that," she said.
Compounding this, their friends and peers may end up isolating them by trying to not bring up the topic, out of concerns for their feelings.
"People sometimes feel these grieving parents don't want to talk about their loss, so they avoid it," Ms, Jordan said. "But they do. They want to talk, they want their children to be remembered."
With no one talking, the bereaving parents feel more and more isolated and alone.
What she wanted to do with this workshop is reach out to these people to let them know there are services available and people willing and able to support them through this difficult period of their lives.
Ms. Jordan said the board believes there are families in the community who are suffering and when she launched this, it was in the hope they will take advantage of this opportunity.
Considering the turn out, she said the event a success.
"We're all very pleased with this."
The workshop was open to anyone who has lost a child.
Ms. Jordan said the Phoenix Centre's Greg Lubimiv and Juliette Turcotte opened the event, breaking the ice and making a connection with the participants with their story of how they dealt with the loss of a child.
Guest speaker Dorothy Allemang gave a presentation about strategies for strengthening one's self after the death of a child.
The afternoon session included a panel discussion, where attendees split into three groups to cover the areas of sudden loss, loss of an unborn child and child suicide. The afternoon also included a healing circle, to solidify the idea that those dealing with losses do not have to suffer alone.
One participant in the workshop was Denice Schneider, who is organizing the Breaking the Silence Walk, scheduled for noon, June 16 at Riverside Park. This is being done in memory of her daughter Jessica, who took her own life Sept. 22, 2011. She was 19 years old and left behind her son Hunter, now two.
The idea is to provide a venue for those who have lost loved ones to suicide to gather and know they are not alone.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist