Experts say that losing a child is the most difficult situation a person can face. There are myriad ways to deal with the devastation that comes with the death of a child. It doesn’t matter what caused the death—disease, accident, prematurity—they are all awful to contemplate.
One way some parents cope is with support groups. The Compassionate Friends meets at the Cicero Community Center in Cicero. They are open to parents who have lost a child of any age to any cause of death. Their phone number is 630-935-1228 and their web address is: www.compassionatefirends.org.
Another way to cope with grief is to journal. Journaling is a time-honored way of exploring an issue and allowing the writer to understand his or her reaction to the event. From time to time there are workshops offered in the villages to guide an individual who is interested in using this as a vehicle to self-understanding.
Oak Park resident, Carrie Kasen, has just published her journal of her daughter’s birth and life. Sadly, Kasen lost her premature child after seven months and her book, Bed 18, is her unedited account of each day that Cailin lived.
When I met with Kasen to talk about the journal she said that the experience has strengthened her faith in God and her belief that a person can change. Besides journaling, she attends support groups and hopes to create a foundation in her daughter’s name.
Sometimes a journal is more about what the writer has to say to himself or herself rather than what the person has to say to others about the experience. Self-expression can offer deep comfort and healing at a particularly vulnerable time in a person’s life. It is courageous of Kasen to share her thoughts with others who may be in the same situation.