Bereavement support groups, grief education and events

The death of a child is both heart-breaking and life-changing. Children’s Minnesota offers programs intended to give comfort and support to families during the first year and beyond. Support Groups provide a safe space where family members can talk about their child, and connect and share support with others who have experienced a similar loss.  Grief Education Programs offer families the opportunity to learn, explore and gain some understanding about a variety grief topics.  Grief related events offer families the chance to participate in a gathering where their child and other children will be remembered.

Grief education programs, support groups, and grief events all offer reassurance that grief is a normal reaction to the deep and profound loss experienced when a child dies.  These programs provide an opportunity for emotional connection, during a time when many families describe feelings of isolation. Additionally, each setting is designed to be comfortable and safe, allowing a space where powerful emotions can be experienced and released.

Support groups

Joining a support group can be very helpful for a variety of reasons. Parents tell us that support groups:

  • Offer them a place to talk about their child in a safe setting
  • Connect with other bereaved parents to get and give support
  • Give reassurance that their grief is a normal reaction to their deep sense of loss

Support groups also can be helpful to children and teens because it helps them see that they are not alone, that there are other kids just like them who are grieving.

Bereaved Parent Support Group at Children’s Minnesota

The Bereaved Parent Support Group is for bereaved parents and guardians and offers an opportunity for parents to meet with, and receive support from, other parents who are also experiencing a grief journey.  Many parents find comfort in being with others who know and appreciate the intense grief that comes when a child dies.  During group, parents will have the option to share their feelings, thoughts, and concerns.  You are welcome to participate as you feel comfortable.  There will be no pressure to talk—we understand the value of simply gathering together.

This group is designed for parents who have experienced the death of a child from infancy through age 21.

The group will meet the 2nd Thursday of each month.  The meeting location will alternate every other month between Children’s Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses.  Meeting time is from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  This group is free of charge. Check out the schedule below for the next group meeting.

Please contact Bereavement Services with questions about our Bereaved parent support group and Living with Grief: [email protected] or 612-813-7216.

Pregnancy and infant loss support group

This group is offered for those who have experienced a perinatal loss. Meetings are held the second and fourth Monday evening of each month on the St. Paul Campus, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. To register call Annette Klein at 651-241-6206.

Grief education programs

Families often say that learning about grief can be helpful. Supportive education programs help families normalize feelings and experiences. They offer healthy ideas for coping with grief, for self-care, and for fostering connections with others who can identify with the pain of having a child die. These programs help families understand that it is okay to ask questions and feel uncertainty. It is also okay to wonder about what a grief journey might be like as time moves forward. And, it is okay to want to better-understand aspects of grief, in an environment that fully supports this exploration.

Living with Grief: A grief education and information program for bereaved families

In Living with Grief, bereaved families have the opportunity to learn about and explore various aspects of grief with others who have also experienced the death of a child. These meetings will provide a safe space that is conducive to learning, discussing thoughts and asking questions about featured topics. families can share support for one another as they feel comfortable, however there is no pressure to talk. Adult sessions will be co-led by a Children’s staff member and a bereaved parent or family member. Each Living with Grief session is designed to provide information on a specific topic and families are invited to attend those sessions that fit their family’s grief experience or need. All sessions are offered free of charge.

Session locations and days of the week will vary from month to month and intended audiences will also very from session to session.

Please contact Bereavement Services with questions Living with Grief: [email protected] or 612-813-7216.

How to find a support group or grief education resource in your area

Here are a few ways to find information about support groups and listings of support groups in your area.

Check these websites:

Search online using the phases listed below plus the name of your community (for example “grief resources, Minneapolis”):

  • Grief support groups
  • Grief resources
  • Children’s grief
  • Bereavement support groups

Events

Children’s Annual Memorial Service

Children’s Memorial Service is an annual event for families, dedicated to honoring the lives of children who have died within the Children’s Minnesota system.   This meaningful service is held once yearly in the spring.  The program typically includes readings, music, and remembrance of each child during a candle-lighting and slide-show ceremony.  The service ends with a butterfly release.  For more information, please contact Children’s Bereavement Services at [email protected] or 612-813-7216.