15 minutes to 2 p.m., a virtual waiting room was opened. On one side, bereaved families await their entry into this special room of remembrance and on the other, the Star PALS team performed their final checks to ensure the smooth running of our second virtual “Star PALS Remembrance Day.” With the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions and for the safety of all participants, the team arranged this virtual day of remembrance on 19 June 2021, Saturday, via video conference.
Each thumbnail twinkled into life with a video of each family, representing a beloved child, reminiscent of a bright star in the night sky. A total of 19 families joined in remembrance of these brilliant stars; stars that once shone as morning light, radiating warmth to their families, but have now taken to illuminating in the sky and watching over their families.
With this dedicated day and safe space for remembrance, it is hoped that bereaved families will be encouraged to embrace the grief journey and the healing process in the company of the HCA team.
Throughout the grieving journey, the bereaved may experience feelings of guilt over things left unsaid or undone. Some repress their emotions while trying to cope with the sudden loss. To encouraging healing, the team prepared two activities —letter writing and building a keepsake box.
Our host, Andrew, explaining the guidelines of our Communiqué of Comfort. Each letter gives the bereaved family a chance to share their grief journey with others.
The Communiqué of Comfort is a letter written by the bereaved and addressed to others who may eventually experience the same loss. As the bereaved families put their pens to paper, they shared their experiences about their journey, stringing together words they could not verbalise, into paragraphs of hope for others.
To continue the bonds and create new memories with their loved ones, each family received materials to create a mosaic keepsake box inspired by the event’s theme— “Past Memories, Present Moments and Future Opportunities.”
Artworks on display. Families were invited to share their mosaic boxes with everyone.
With each tile, families were encouraged to share a memory of their loved one, a current event in their lives and a future dream that they have. The tiles were then glued onto the box to form an image representing their family.
As a form of art therapy, the process of creating a mosaic box provided an opportunity for families to have deep and meaningful conversations about their grief journey while honouring their beloved children.
Conversations about grief, help establish important connections among the bereaved that prevents isolation, fear and illness caused by suppressing emotions.
Janet and Stanley Wong were invited to share about their life before and after their child Zachary’s passing and the progress of their healing journey since then. The family’s touching story of unconditional love was also recently featured in a local Mandarin TV programme, “One in a Thousand”.
Speaking from the heart, Janet and Stanley (left) shared with our Medical Director, Dr Chong Poh Heng (right) on how they coped after Zachary’s passing.
“He taught us to love and to be patient…we will never forget Zachary’s love for us, because it enabled us to walk further than we thought we could,” shared Janet. The loss of their four-year-old has left a void in their lives, but the couple has taken comfort through creating keepsakes of him. “He is always with us.”
Their sharing resonated with other bereaved families. A few shed tears, while some nodded silently.
As families bid each other farewell and logged off from this virtual room of remembrance, a new memory and experience of honouring their beloved child is now etched onto their minds.
And all they need to access this memory is a simple password, “Remember Me”.
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