Father’s Day can be incredibly difficult when your dad is no longer here to celebrate with.
10 year old Willow and 6 year old twins Noah and Jude, were able to spend their last Father’s Day with their beloved daddy, Laurence, at St Helena Hospice. Who took care of him in his last precious moments of life.
Laurence died in June last year and the children have been working with Sue and Christine from St Helena’s family support team to explore their emotions and capture their precious memories of time spent together through creative sessions.
Coming to terms with the loss of a parent can be painful, so having to accept this at such a young age is tough. Even though their daddy is no longer here, they keep him alive by remembering him as he was. Mum Vicky shares their story…
“The children have started to do certain things such as, we went to karaoke and they picked out songs they knew Daddy liked. It's not coming from me; it's generated from them.
The sessions they had with Sue and Christine, combined with support from their school and how we share our feelings at home, have given them the platform to be able to talk about Daddy, open up about Daddy, and to not be scared. And if you're upset, it's OK to be upset and you will be upset. They have learnt some useful tools.
In the sessions, we talked about having a mix of emotions; some days you might be angry, some days you might be terribly sad, and that's OK, that's perfectly normal. After a session at St Helena’s the children would come out slightly lighter, slightly more relaxed, because they had the opportunity to express these emotions.
Laurence was brought to the Hospice at the beginning of June thinking we would have a few months to make more special memories with the children. Unfortunately, it soon became very apparent that we wouldn’t get that time. All the staff at the inpatient unit were so lovely and so welcoming. When you come in, it's so unknown as a family member but you quickly get to know the routine, know there's so many people you can speak to.
As soon as the children came in, everyone was so welcoming and friendly which I think made a big difference for them, it took away from their fears. Prior to being at St Helena, Laurence was in hospital in London, so the children hadn't seen him for a few weeks before they saw him at the Hospice, but as Laurence was transferred the day before Father’s Day, I'm just glad they were able to spend this special day with him.
Laurence loved the sun, and it was such a sunny week, and he was able to sit in the garden and the children had space to play which made a big difference.
We'll keep doing things which give an opportunity for them to talk about Daddy and remember Daddy.”
To help the children grieve the loss of their beloved daddy, St Helena Hospice’s chair of trustees, Nigel Pye, upcycled some old gate posts into three wooden ducks. Willow, Noah and Jude painted them and chose a spot each in the garden to hide the ducks for others to find.
If like the children, you are remembering your beloved Dad this Father’s Day, you are not alone. If you need help from the bereavement services that St Helena offer click the link here.
Or to find out more information on the other ways they support head to their website below.