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Children's Grief Awareness Week: 'They understand what you're going through.'
Jessica, aged 9, lives with her father, Ian. Her mother Maria died of cancer in June 2014. In the first in our series of posts during Children's Grief Awareness Week, Jessica gives an insight into the bereavement support she receives from Saint Francis Hospice...
My name is Jessica and I'm 9 and a half years old. In my mind I knew my mum was ill throughout my lifetime, but I didn't really take much notice because she was my mum and I loved her. Last year I was on my half term break at the end of May and my dad said to me that my mum was very ill and then 1 week later my mum died. I was really upset and then a few months later I started at Saint Francis Hospice counselling and they started to help me.
Even though my mum was very ill she still helped me with my homework like reading, spellings, times tables and all the things that I enjoyed doing with her. She took me and daddy out on trips to farms and other really fun places. We even went for long walks over at the country park we also went for bike rides as well. She wanted to do a lot of things with me but she never got to do them though she did get to do a few of them but she was always there for me no mater what.
My counsellors name is Esther and she helps me to understand and discuss how I feel about my mum. We do a lot of work together. The sort of work I do with her is diary writing, drawings and art with her, like plate painting. I look forward to Esther coming to my house so I can share my thoughts with her, she is also fun and we don't do all the work on my mum though. Having Esther to help me makes a really big difference than before because she helps me to understand more about my mum's illness. The hardest part of my time with her is when we talk about mummy because it brings up all of my emotions which I never really show. I think of Esther as really clever and enthusiastic because she is always willing and determined, understanding and kind.
Jessica at Fireworks and Feelings with our Family Support Team
If a child was really nervous about counselling or they don't want to do it this is what I would say to the child "try it or you'll never know what it's like. You may be talking to a stranger but they'll understand what you're going through." I would recommend counselling to other children in the same situation as I am whether they've lost their mum or dad. Esther is kind and understanding in these difficult times and matters and it's a bit scary at the start but once you get used to it it's ok. She would come every week and the more she comes the more confident you'll be.
I don't say anything to my friends because they don't understand what's happened to me. They've still got their parents and until that happens to them they don't understand what it's like, so please support Saint Francis Hospice bereavement services for children, because with your support your helping the next child to overcome their loss of their mum or dad.