Date published: 15 May 2018 by Anna Jackson
Nobody expects to outlive their child, but this is something that happens for many families we support.
We support families living with a child with a life threatening illness and last year 67 of the children we supported, died. For these families, their worst fear became a reality. Having to plan their child’s funeral is not something any of them ever imagined they’d have to do in their lifetime.
Rainbow Trust supports families from diagnosis, through treatment and if needed, bereavement. Each family has their own dedicated Family Support Worker who becomes a trusted constant in their lives, one they can rely on to be there for the whole family.
The role of a Family Support Worker is twofold; a professional who provides a service but, with the care and compassion of someone who genuinely cares. It is this relationship that proves so vital to families when a child dies.
Family Support Workers often help parents plan their child’s funeral. With over 30 years’ experience, our nine care teams around the country share a wealth of knowledge and can help and guide families through the process.
“I spent a lot of time talking to Dawn about Jack’s funeral, about what I wanted to do for him. I knew I would get an honest opinion from Dawn as I trusted her so much,” said Marie, mum to Jack.
Our Family Support Workers often accompany parents and siblings to the child’s funeral.
“For the funeral, Marlene told me where she’d sit so I knew I could turn to her if I needed her or if Alice needed me. She was someone Alice knew and trusted and we both knew we could turn to her,” said a Rainbow Trust mum.
Many will support siblings at the funeral so that if it all gets too much, and they want to leave, they will have someone they know, with them. This means that parents can focus on the funeral knowing their children are with someone who truly cares.
“Steve and Annabel helped Sam and Amy-Louise read at the funeral, standing by them as they did it and Steve also read my words for me as I was too emotional to do it on the day,” says Charlie, mum of Emma, Sam and Amy-Louise.
Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers will be there for families for as long as their support is needed - something that many families cherish.
“We don’t really feel the need to go to another bereavement service – we’d have to go through Shona’s whole story with someone who didn’t know her. The continuity of service which Rainbow Trust has provided is what we have appreciated the most and it’s so important to us that Val knew the real Shona, not just her story.” Rainbow Trust mum.