In almost every part of the world the dragonfly symbolises change and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life.
At St Richard’s we understand that a serious progressive illness can cause enormous changes within a family and that children in particular may need help through bereavement after someone they love has died.
Children of all ages will sense the feelings of people around them and every child will have different needs depending on their age and development, but they will all need information, reassurance, and the opportunity to express their feelings.
That’s why St Richard’s runs a Dragonfly Group. The group helps bereaved children and young people, together with their parent or carer, through professional support and offers an opportunity to share their experiences 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 theme as the process of making helps the children explore their sense of loss and express their feelings about the loved one that has died. This can include creating memory boxes or salt sculpture jars to hold onto treasured memories or planting forget me not seeds into pots with messages to their loved ones who have died.
Children and young people can gain hugely from these activities and know that those memories are always there to offer them comfort.
Last year the St Richard’s Family Support Team helped over 2,000 individuals including children and young people.
To find out more visit www.strichards.org.uk/supporting-the-family.