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Dragonfly tale helps bereaved children

16th July 2015

Our latest Dragonfly Group met this week for the final time, and it is lovely for me to see the children open up about their feelings of loss after the death of their loved one.

Here at St Richard’s we understand how illness and bereavement can cause enormous changes for a family, and that children of all ages need the opportunity to talk about their feelings.

Our Dragonfly Group helps to provide this opportunity to explore their emotions and offers children the chance to talk with others in a similar situation. We chose this name for the group after reading Doris Stickney’s tale “Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children” which tells how waterbugs grow into dragonflies but are unable to return to their friends to explain what has happened to them.

Each group session tends to have a creative basis as the process of making helps the children explore their sense of loss and express their feelings about the loved one that has died. For this final week the children painted pots writing messages to their loved ones who had died, putting their message in the pot, then planting ‘forget me not’ seeds.

This week the group were also delighted to welcome Michael Smith from The National Trust’s Croome Park and the children and their parents were absolutely enthralled in what he had to tell them and show them about real dragonflies and their life cycle. They also made dragonflies from kits kindly provided by Michael.

The gDragonfly Group cakeroup were also treated to a fantastic dragonfly cake baked for them by our skilled hospice catering team.

These families have now completed their group sessions, and have gained additional skills to help them deal with the emotional strain of losing someone close. They have also made friends with other families who are in similar situations and these new friendships will likely be important to help them continue their grieving process in the future. St Richard’s will also continue to offer support and counselling where this is needed, for as long as this is needed.

Over the last year, we have held three Dragonfly Groups, and have supported 46 children, young people and their parents. Our next group will start in September.

Sharon Workman

Child and Family Support Practitioner

From: “Waterbugs and Dragonflies : Explaining Death to Young Children” by Doris Stickney