Hinsdale, IL – Longtime Adventist Hinsdale Hospital volunteer Cathy Blanford, a volunteer bereavement counselor for the hospital’s pregnancy loss support program, has seen firsthand how miscarriages, stillbirths and neonatal deaths affect a family.
Although myriad support groups, books and counselors help adults deal with grief caused by a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, Blanford noted that few such resources are available for young children experiencing the premature death of a new sibling.
That’s why the Western Springs resident wrote Something Happened, a beautifully illustrated children’s book that tells the story of family dealing with the death of their new baby.
“Many times, parents are so overwhelmed with their own sorrow, they have no capacity or energy to deal with their other children,” said Blanford, coordinator of the Still Missed program and founder and director of Adventist St. Thomas Hospice’s Tommy’s Kids Support Group in Burr Ridge. “But little ones overhear things and pick up vibes, and without concrete information, children can experience disturbing feelings involving fear, guilt and confusion.”
Something Happened is written purposely in a straightforward manner addressing the many confusing feelings a child experiences when the anticipated baby has died. Perhaps most important, the book includes the family's experience of going on with life while always remembering their baby.
“The child reading the book is left with a sense of reassurance that life continues,” Blanford said, “and that he or she is loved and secure and is still a vital part of a loving family.”
For nearly 20 years, the Still Missed program has provided a time and place for parents to join together to discuss their loss, express feelings and work together toward healing. “It’s a privilege to accompany grieving people to deep places,” Blanford said. “It’s very spiritual – like going to the wilderness of the heart. I think of it as ‘companioning.’ I sit with them in their pain. It feels like prayer to me.”
Rosmarie Roose, R.N., coordinator of the Still Missed program, called Blanford “a true gift to the program.”
“She’s able to capture the feelings these families are experiencing and shed light on them in a positive way to bring them hope and healing,” Roose said.
Most pages of Something Happened include a box with insight and advice to help parents understand what their child might be experiencing. Parents can easily scan the boxes while their child looks at the beautiful watercolor illustrations.
Proceeds from the book, available on Amazon.com for $12.95, will benefit Still Missed. To learn more, visit www.somethinghappenedbook.com.