Day of support held in Sheffield for bereaved parents

The loss of a child at any age is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a parent; Faye Smith knows this better than most.

By Nik Farah
Tuesday, 11 June, 2019, 08:48
Care for the Family supporters, including Faye Smith

Her daughter Gabi died at their Ecclesall home on March 16 2013, aged just 12-years-old. Gabi, described by her mum as ‘bright, cheerful and vivacious; the light of our lives, beautiful inside and out’ drowned in the bath one Saturday morning after suffering a suspected seizure.

Six years on from Gabi’s death, Faye - who also has an older son, Zach - has done her best to keep her small family moving forwards.

Faye Smith with her daughter Gabi, shortly before her death in 2013

“When Gabi died I was a single parent and self-employed,” says Faye.

“That’s a very difficult combination when it comes to bereavement, because you’ve got all those financial worries, you’ve got another child who’s grieving, so you are experiencing all their referred pain, and you’ve got all your own pain. On top of that, Gabi’s father had died suddenly two years before, on the same day. I hadn’t even got over that. I had two bereavements going on at almost the same time.”

After Gabi died, Faye turned to Care for the Family for support - a national charity which aims to promote strong family life and to help those who face family difficulties, particularly support with marriage, parenting and bereavement. They offer bereavement telephone befrienders, weekends away and days to remember loved ones, led by and among those who understand.

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And this month the charity will host a national Support Day - held in Sheffield – to offer understanding, encouragement and support to any parent who has suffered the death of a son or daughter in any circumstance and at any age.

The charity took to social media this week to say: “Children are ‘not supposed to die.’ But sometimes they do, and the extent of pain and devastation, even isolation, experienced by parents when a child dies is unimaginable.

“Whether you are coming on your own or as a couple, you’ll be able to meet others who understand the heartache you are going through. Many have found that these events can make a huge difference in helping them cope both now and as they think about the future.”

The day will be led by bereaved parent support co-ordinators Kath and Mike Coulson, who lost their eldest son Philip, then aged seven, in 1994, and know how difficult life can be following bereavemen.

The event costs £22 per person, including lunch and refreshments. Visit cff.org.uk/bpsday to book.​​​​​​​