Supporting children in their grief

Written by Head of Communications, Francesca Coles:

In the UK, 24,000 parents die each year, leaving dependent children. A staggering 1 in 29 school-age children have been bereaved of a parent or sibling. Today marks the end of Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK, but the campaign and its message will resonate year round…Children’s Grief Awareness Week UK is designed to raise awareness of bereaved children and young people in the UK, and how providing those affected with free, professional support can make the world of difference to their future.

The poignant theme for the week was #RememberWhen– tying into November’s month of remembrance. Campaigners have been encouraging families to share memories together of the person who has died, such as a place, a joke, a food or a story.

Giving children and young people a chance to talk about their loved one – and to find out more about them from friends and family – is such an important part of grief and recovery. As is bringing these children together at specially designed events held throughout the year to show they’re not the only ones who have lost someone special, helping to bring some ‘normality’ to their situation.

Throughout this week, our Charity Partner 2 Wish Upon a Star has shared some heart-breaking, yet inspirational stories of parents talking about the children they lost – and their children that were ‘left behind’.  They share how 2 Wishhas been instrumental in supporting their children and their whole family through their grief, and in rebuilding their lives by cherishing memories and traditions. And by turning their loss into something positive.

You can find their video stories here, including:

  • Gareth’s story– an incredible Ambassador who has raised so much awareness and vital funds for the charity in memory of their beautiful daughter, Taryn – talking about what the 2 Wish has done for his other daughter Lyla.
  • Beth’s story– who has campaigned tirelessly since she lost her beautiful son, Peter to Type 1 Diabetes and has relied on 2 Wishfor ongoing support.
  • Nadine’s story– who lost her son in the most tragic circumstances; she explains the impact on the whole family and how 2 Wishhas been a source of hope in times of unbearable sadness.
  • Karen’s story– as she talks openly and honestly about her grief and how 2 Wish Upon A Starhave and continue to support her, her other children, and the rest of the family.

Rhian Mannings, Founder of 2 Wish (who will be cutting the ribbon at our Heathwood Opening Ceremony next week), has the most incredible story to tell of both her own loss, and her children’s grief in losing their brother and father in the space of 5 days. It moves us to tears here at Coles, every time we hear it. An inspiration to parents and families throughout Wales and the UK, Rhian and 2 Wish are a source of hope and light in utter darkness. The work the charity does for grieving children truly makes a world of difference to their futures. And at the end of this important week, we wanted to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to Rhian and her team.

If children in your family have been affected by the loss of a sibling – visit for details of how you can access support and advice. And if, like us, you believe in what they do – perhaps you’d like to donate a few pounds or become a fundraiser for 2 Wish Upon a Star? Find out more here >