by Sandy Fox
After a child dies, bereaved parents may not know where to turn for help. In this computer age, the many resources are not hard to find. Three main national support groups: The Compassionate Friends, Bereaved Parents USA and Alive Alone can lead you to many other specific groups. If you find it difficult to get out or want the privacy to deal with your grief in your own way, web site groups allow parents to sit in their homes and be part of an online group or chat room. Whether you choose to join a group and be active outside the home or interact with the web from home, someone will be there to offer comfort and a friendly hand.
Below are a few specific groups you can contact, besides the three main ones, and online resources you can delve into.
* The American Society of Suicidology leads families of suicide victims to local resources such as survivor’s groups. Phone number is 202-237-2280.
* The American Childhood Cancer Organization is for parent support of children who have or who have had any form of cancer. They have a monthly newsletter, and there are no monthly dues. Their philosophy is that “it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” Their phone number is 391-962-3520.
* The National Association of People with AIDS educates the public and provides services needed for those afflicted with AIDS. They are also a good referral source. Phone is 240-247-0880.
* Parents of Murdered Children puts grieving parents in touch with each other. Like Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents USA, a yearly conference is held to help these parents. Phone number is 513-721-5683.
* TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors helps survivors who have lost a loved one in the line of military duty. They have a national magazine highlighting interesting stories of hope and survival. In the summer they sponsor a “good grief” camp for children who have lost a parent or sibling. Phone number is 1-800-959-8277.
* As for web sites that any bereaved parents can use, one of the best in my opinion is the Open to Hope Foundation. Although they deal with all kinds of deaths, they do have a special section on death of a child and many authors write for it, including myself. They help to connect all those who have suffered a loss and provide expert as well as peer-to-peer resources to help with the grieving process.
* Angel Moms chat daily. Through their pain, these mothers have bonded together to offer each other love, support and understanding, something we all need.
* MISS: Mothers in Support and Sympathy is an organization with the mission of providing a safe haven for parents to share their grief after a child’s death. The emphasis is on support for the entire family and the whole family must show up for meetings.
* The Cope Foundation is a grief and healing organization dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. COPE (Connect Our Paths Eternally) has connected individuals who have experienced similar losses by providing ongoing emotional, therapeutic and spiritual programs.
If you use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, these sites now have outlets for grieving. People the world over post messages, photos and videos. The web has put grievers in touch with all sorts of people who can help support them through the pain.
About the Author: Sandy Fox is an award-winning author of two books on surviving grief. Her latest is Creating a New Normal…After the Death of a Child. In it are 80 articles on a variety of coping and informational topics that bereaved parents must deal with, and the rest of the book is 10 individual inspirational stories and a huge resource section. Her first book I Have No Intention of Saying Good-bye tells the stories of 25 sets of parents and how they moved on with their lives while always remembering their children. Each Sunday Sandy writes a blog. If you go to her Surviving Grief blog you can read a variety of subjects dealing with a child’s death. Sandy also writes for Open To Hope, has articles in their recently published book and does Ezine articles online on the same topic.