How We Can Help
The Bluebell Foundation offers support and information to parents, families and others affected by:
- The death of a baby- before or after birth- or a youngster throughout childhood
- The life-limiting or life-threatening illness of a baby or child
- Infertility and related circumstances
- Early termination or loss of a pregnancy
- Facing difficult decisions relating to pregnancy
We also offer support for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are:
- Grieving through the death of someone important to them
- Grieving through the anticipated death of someone important to them
* We can provide training and support to professionals working with bereavement
* We provide support and information free of charge. However, we are always happy to receive help. If you are interested in becoming involved in raising funds or would like to join our committee please contact us. No experience necessary.
HELP WHEN A BABY OR CHILD IS SERIOUSLY ILL
People tell us that they can feel quite alone and want to talk with someone who is not a nurse or doctor, or emotionally involved, at such a difficult time. Bluebell can meet with the family together or just those who feel it might help.
Sometimes just to talk with someone from Bluebell on the phone, or text/email one other, is enough in the busy schedule of hospital visiting. We want to be there in the way that is most helpful at this stressful time.
“If the illness is serious, if it will change their parent or sibling in some way, if it’s already making members of the family worried or stressed – then it will affect the children. There are ways of talking about what is happening, sharing feelings and preparing for the journey ahead. The aim is for the children to feel resilient and strong, and confident enough to share the natural feelings of loss when someone they care about is seriously ill” – Winstons Wish website.
It may be that you are finding it hard to keep the other children up to date or are struggling with what words to use.
We can give advice on how to tell siblings that their brother or sister may not, or is not, going to get better. Please get in touch and we will provide support in trying to help you with these difficult issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I talk to someone?
Do I have to see you on my own?
Where would we meet?
What does it cost?
Do you run any groups?
What about help for organisations?
*Please note that whilst our service is offered free to individuals and their families seeking support, for organisations an appropriate fee will be negotiated.
How Talking Helped Me
During the first few weeks following his death, I thought I would eventually come to terms with my loss. However as time went on, I realised that I did not feel comfortable talking about him, about his death and able to grieve for him, as I felt I was upsetting my family and friends each time I did so. I started to have panic attacks, felt uneasy about leaving the house, and was generally feeling unable to cope. Around the same time, there was a lot of adverse media speculation about cot death, and I felt continually judged by strangers.
I approached my GP, who contacted the hospital support service for bereaved parents for me. The counsellor then called round to see me at my home, on a weekly basis, for almost a year. The service she offered helped me through an awful time in my life. I felt able to talk, cry, and laugh without being judged for doing so. The support she provided helped me to understand that what I was feeling was entirely normal, and that it was okay. In a sense, she allowed me to grieve, and in time I have learned to move on.
If a bereavement counselling service had not been available to me at that time, I have no doubt that my mental health would have severely suffered along with the relationships I have with my family and friends. As I have a personal history of depression, and a family history of suicide, there is also the potential there for a much worse outcome. I managed to avoid medication, and learned some coping strategies from my counsellor to help me to reach a new normality.
I made contact again with the counsellor during the diagnosis of a severe and fatal condition of an unborn child. She helped me through the whole situation, listened to me whilst I vented my anger and frustration at my situation, and came to visit me in hospital when I had my pregnancy terminated. I had no hesitation in calling her, as I knew that she would listen to me without judging me, and that given my history, would understand my feelings and help me to rationalise them. My world fell apart when my son died through cot death
I was told that my wife was ok and so was Alex but there was a problem with Daniel. The reason for the emergency caesarean was that the scan that morning had identified fluid on his lungs and some in his stomach. I was to learn later that this is called foetal distress. He needed to be delivered quickly to try and save him. They had waited as long as possible for me. At one point my Mum was even dressed and ready to go into the operating theatre, but my wife needed a general anaesthetic after three attempts at an epidural failed to work. She had to go in alone, for that I will never forgive myself. I should have been there to hold her hand, I failed as a husband at one of the key moments in her life, and I simply was not there.
I spoke to a nurse about Daniel who said that they were trying to resuscitate him, but it was not looking good. Somebody made me a cup of tea. I cannot now believe that my wife, the woman who had saved me from loneliness and who had become my best friend had just undergone major surgery, my two sons were in a neonatal ward and one was fighting hard for his life and I drank a cup of tea as I waited, useless, a pathetic victim of the events surrounding me. Suddenly the paediatric consultant came into the room and told me to come upstairs to the neonatal ward. Daniel was not going to make it; he was dying as we rushed up the stairs. I was ushered to a seat and handed Daniel. As I looked down he took his last gasp, he had been in my arms for seconds, and it was almost as though he had been waiting for me to get there. Maybe he needed to be in his Dad’s arms before he left. Whatever the reason he had gone, he had died right there in my arms.
I cried, in fact I felt loss fully for the first time in my life. It felt as though someone was trying to crush my soul. I was being ripped apart from the inside. This was my child, my son who I had so many plans and hopes for and he was dead. He had lived for an hour and a half; just an hour and a half of struggling existence fighting for what the rest of us take for granted. He had lost his fight and there he was, Daniel, my boy, the one who always stuck his head under my wife’s ribs at night. I had felt his kicks inside her, watched him wriggle on scans. This whole thing did not seem real. I was taken into a side room where I continued to howl. I wanted to change places with him, give him what I had so that he had chance to live, to experience all the greatness of being alive. My Mum came into the room, but I did not acknowledge her. There was a nurse around as well but I did not care.
I always thought that I had learned to deal with death. Years ago I had been a member of a mountain rescue team and I had seen and dealt with the aftermath of some sad and unpleasant incidents. We had always used a mixture of humour and professionalism to deal with it all. This was so fundamentally different. A part of me had literally died, and there he was, so small, so fragile and I could not do anything to save him. I had failed twice in one day. Failed so badly that it will haunt me for the rest of my life, I will never be able to atone for these failures. I had not been there for my wife and I could not do anything to save my son’s life. A Dad's Story - My twin son died