Offering Support, Care and Compassion for Bereaved Parents, Siblings and Grandparents Following the Death of a Child
Bereaved Parents of the USA
Goals of the BP/USA
It is the goals of BP/USA:
Plant City Meeting
Why BP/USA Exists
BP/USA is Non-denominational
How BP/USA Works
Attendance at the meetings brings together newly bereaved parents and those who are farther along in their grief and have worked through many of their grief-related issues.
Although most parents feel isolated in the beginning, the group helps them to know they haven’t been singled out for this unspeakable hurt. The most important thing our meetings have to offer are members who listen with true empathy. They listen as parents, siblings or grandparents relate the uniqueness of the child who has dies, the events that surround the death itself, the bitterness and alienation that remain and the disappointment over anticipated support that does not materialize. All are reassured that there isn’t a reason to hurry the hurt along, as some nonbereaved suggest.
Hearing “I know” and “I felt that way too” is reassuring. However, parents learn that each person’s grief experience is unique to that individual. Those attending soon come to know that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is there a timetable in grief. BP/USA recognizes that not all bereaved families will need the help and support this organization offers. Some families are well supported by family and friends as they move through the grief process. Others, however, who do not have the understanding and support of the people who surround them, will find BP/USA meetings a warm, safe, understanding and comfortable place to be. There they have the opportunity to be with other families who have also experienced the death of a child and may have something beneficial to share. There is no claim that these meetings are therapy groups. Members come to recognize that healing comes gradually through the sharing and support of others with like circumstances that understand.
Some members, after benefiting from what BP/USA offers, choose to continue attending the meetings to help the chapter in any way that they are needed. Some stay on, listening, reading, facilitating, attending conferences and learning. They have seen a lot of pain and a lot of healing. These invaluable members have received much more than they have given and we call them “wounded healers.”
For the Newly Bereaved
All of these reactions are natural and normal. It is important not to deny one’s feelings, but to learn to express them. Realizing that you are not alone in having these reactions is helpful. One’s balance is regained slowly through understanding and working through the grief process.
It has been said that the bereaved underestimate their ability to survive. Many bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents are proof that the self-help process in a group such as BP/USA works.
Author – Mary Cleckley
Bereaved Parents of the USA, Tampa Bay Chapter, Florida