The death of a child seems so unfair. Children should not die before their parents, yet there are more than 3,000 deaths of infants, children and young adults under 29 years of age annually in Ontario alone.The grief a family feels when their child dies is a normal healing process. However, the feelings of disbelief, sorrow, anger and guilt that are a part of this grief are often locked up inside by parents. They may resurface as relationship or work problems, alcohol or drug abuse. Surviving children may mistake their parents’ anguish as a sign they loved the dead child more than they love them.

Fortunately, today parents and children can share their grief with other bereaved families. Their common loss often helps them to reconstruct their shattered lives, to communicate with one another and to go on living with the memories of their lost child.

Founded in 1978 under the auspices of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Bereaved Families is a self-help organization staffed by bereaved persons. Specialists in grief and bereavement serve as a resource and train group facilitators. In Toronto, Bereaved Families serves Portuguese, Hispanic and Italian families in their own language.

Bereaved Families offers a variety of groups for every age group and for the loss of any family relation.

Bereaved Families of Ontario: 562 Eglinton Ave. E., Suite 401, Toronto Ont. M4P 1P1 tel. (416) 440-0290 or 1-800-236-6364
Affiliate Locations in Ontario: Brant County, Cornwall, Durham, Halton-Peel, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Orangeville, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Pembroke, Peterborough, Quinte, Thunder Bay, Waterloo Region, York Region. Abridged and reprinted by permission of BFO.