Community Ombudsman: Help for grieving parentsWritten by Brandi Barhite | Associate Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
First there were the grief-stricken parents of the young people killed in the shootings at Chardon High School on Feb. 27. Then, there were the parents of the Bowling Green State University sorority girls killed by the I-75 wrong-way driver March 2. The State of Ohio is still making national headlines for both tragedies, but eventually the media will move on and the parents will continue to grapple with one of the worst types of grief: the death of a child.
At Mercy, Media Relations Coordinator Sarah Velliquette said several services are offered to families who have lost a loved one.
- Mercy’s Remember Me: This program is put on in conjunction with Mercy St. Vincent’s and Mercy St. Charles. This is a support group for grieving parents that meets on the second Wednesday of the month from 7-9 p.m.
- A Time for You: This is specifically hosted at the Maternal-Child/Pediatric Palliative Care (MaCPac) offices at St. V’s and takes place every Friday afternoon from noon until 1 p.m. This is a group that offers listening and support.
- Individual/one-on-one grief counseling: This is set up through the MaCPac offices and is open to individuals, couples and families who have experienced a loss and want one-on-one services with a licensed counselor.
At ProMedica, Media Consultant Jared Meade said in an email that if a parent suffers the loss of a child, “we do have someone on staff available for them to talk with and then we would refer them to an outside organization.”
One of those outside organizations is the Cullen Center, which is affiliated with the Toledo Children’s Hospital. The center is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and offers counseling and group support to children, teens and families who have experienced a traumatic event.
The Cullen Center’s vision is “that children, adolescents and families who have experienced traumatic events will heal and reclaim their lives within communities that have the knowledge, resources and commitment to support them,” according to its website.
But everyone agrees that no matter the quality of support services available in Toledo or elsewhere, no one wants a parent to lose a child.