So, apparently, bereaved parents are being looked after sufficiently in this country by means of HSE services...or so the powers that be claim.
The only people really looking after us are charities which are mainly funded by private donations. They are groups of people that are united by the loss of one or even more children. Those are the people who look after each other and the newly bereaved. Those are the people who truly care, it seems.
In our experience, the only "help" we got from the HSE (not counting the wonderful nurses and front line staff who treated us with such compassion and dignity!) was pamphlets and brochures that pointed us to those charities.
In our case, it was even one charity itself...the SUDC Program who made contact with us as opposed to us looking for them!
So...real assistance from the government? I do not think so.
It appears that some time back when SIDS rates were higher, funding for research was made available. Now that rates have dropped, there is no more research being done because, as I understand it, it is not economically viable.
So what if the figure is down to 30 odd. That is still 30odd children who died for no apparent reason. That is still 60 mums and dad's and countless siblings and family whose world got turned upside down.
Do we not count? Do our children not count? Does our grief not count?
So, dear "powers that be", when you meet those charities about funding, think, REALLY think about what you are doing and do not keep cutting assistance. I know our children are dead and thus lost causes...but WE are still around and desperately trying to make sense of our new reality. And we do need the help!
We benefit from meeting other parents in the same boat. Where else can you openly talk about your experience in ways that you cannot with people who aren't in the same place?
Where else can you talk frankly about what it was like, looking at and touching your dead child. How they perhaps looked different in death. What it felt like to hold them that last time. What it was like for us to see them start deteriorate. How painful it was to listen to the sound of that first shovel of earth hitting that tiny white coffin in the ground....imagining them in there (or perhaps that is just me...).
This is all stuff that is not commonly spoken about. When meeting other parents, you can speak about this. When seeing a counselor, you can speak about this.
Those charities help with providing those vital services that perhaps in some cases may make the difference between someone making it through the grief or packing it all in because they do not see a way out!
So...think! Treat them with dignity, compassion and above all: LISTEN to their stories.
Or at the very least make a better attempt at pretending to give a toss!
P.S. Maybe you could work on a standardised process and some more staff training as well...that might mean less stories from parents about vast differences in treatment by the officials.
Handing the freshly bereaved, utterly bewildered parents the phonebook and telling them to go looking for an undertaker when they are still in the hospital minutes after their child passed away asking: "What do we do now?".... Really?! I am sure they could have done with a hug instead of being handed the phonebook!