Marzie’s husband died from cancer when her son was 13 years old. Marzie talks about how she and her son were supported by Child Bereavement UK in West London.

Don’t be a mum or dad who suffers in silence because your son or daughter’s behaviour is changing. Don’t think it will be different tomorrow, because it won’t change. Pick up the phone and ask for support and help.

When my husband died, it was not only a traumatic time for me but also for my teenage son. He went through a very difficult period; he couldn’t cope with his grief and wasn’t coping at school.

Unfortunately, bereavement at my son`s school is not openly talked about and not fully understood in terms of how a bereaved child needs to be supported,  and how they might feel after such a tragic loss. Four weeks after his father died, we had a conversation where they said, ‘Life has got to get back to normal now,’ which we found extremely difficult.

Unfortunately, bereavement at my son`s school is not openly talked about and not fully understood in terms of how a bereaved child needs to be supported, and how they might feel after such a tragic loss. Four weeks after his father died, we had a conversation where they said, ‘Life has got to get back to normal now,’ which we found extremely difficult. I asked for a counsellor for my son and he was put on a waiting list. However, I felt that I needed to explore different avenues to get some professional support for my son.

I was told about Child Bereavement UK by MacMillan Cancer Charity. Initially, I wanted a young people’s group for my son to join so he could talk to others about what he was going through. At that time my son felt that he was the only person having those feelings.

At Child Bereavement UK we met an amazing bereavement support practitioner who built a rapport not only with me but also with my son. This was really important as you need to be able to click with someone. Teenagers and young people can have a sense about someone, and my son noticed that the bereavement support practitioner was caring and supportive. I didn’t have to force my son to see him, it was something he wanted to do

I came to Child Bereavement UK on my own at first. Then we both met with one of their amazing practitioners who built a rapport not only with me but also with my son. This was really important as you need to be able to click with someone. Teenagers and young people can have a sense about someone, and my son noticed that the bereavement support practitioner was caring and supportive. I didn’t have to force my son to see him, it was something he wanted to do.

A few months after we started coming to Child Bereavement UK, a new group for young people was formed which my son attended. The people who lead the sessions make sure that the children don’t feel pressurised to talk about their bereavement. As a single mum, I don’t think I could have offered that help to my son. He might not have wanted to be open with me as he might think I’d cry or get emotional. He was able to open up to the bereavement support practitioner because he wasn’t directly connected.

My son still gets angry and asks, ‘Why is my Dad not with us anymore?’. He’s on a journey that’s up and down. One day can be perfect and then on another day, such as his dad’s birthday, he won’t feel so great. Life carries on and you just have to adapt to the situation. A few months ago I’d have just burst into tears talking about things but, after having sessions with Child Bereavement UK, I’m more resilient.

Child Bereavement UK was so helpful, I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for us. We are still on a long journey and we know it’s not just going to take a few sessions. However, we know we have someone we can email and ask for advice; for me that is so reassuring.  They give me impartial advice and it’s good to talk to someone not directly connected to my family.

Don’t be a mum or dad who suffers in silence because your son or daughter’s behaviour is changing. Don’t think it will be different tomorrow, because it won’t change. Pick up the phone and ask for support and help.

I would definitely encourage another family to speak to Child Bereavement UK. There is support available and you will find someone who you can trust and build a rapport with. Don’t be a mum or dad who suffers in silence because your son or daughter’s behaviour is changing. Don’t think it will be different tomorrow, because it won’t change. Pick up the phone and ask for support and help.