There is a saying that goes: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
The brilliance of young lives, the hopes of what could have been – these dreams are dashed when children depart the world. Their departure leaves a gaping void far larger than their physical size, but therein also lies a wealth of memories for their loved ones.
The HCA team gathers at the Star PALS Remembrance Day.
The act of remembrance enables bereaved family members to reminisce the good times, soothe the pain of loss and gather support from others. It is the same healing touch that the biannual Star PALS Remembrance Day hopes to offer the bereaved families of our patients, through a sharing session and a series of activities designed to help them express their emotions.
Writing is cathartic. It gives form to thoughts and an outlet to emotions. During the letter writing segment of the event, the bereaved families were encouraged to pen words of comfort to others who would eventually experience the same loss.
Through the process of penning the personal communiqué, it is hoped that families will derive comfort and encouragement as well.
Putting thoughts down in the written word often brings relief.
Everyone grieves differently – some find meaning in openly sharing their feelings, while others are comforted by channelling their energies into hobbies that remind them of their loved ones.
Each family worked on a clay photo-frame together.
During the art and craft segment of the event, the attendees had the opportunity to create a clay photo-frame, a personalised memento they could take home. Each photo-frame brimmed with love, longing and memories, replete with little details of their child’s beloved toys and cartoon characters. From the Minions to toy guns and stuffed bears, these photo-frames represented the brilliant superstars that were taken too soon.
Chiew Yi spoke about her journey with her son Zachary.
Giving voice to the tumult of emotions following the loss of a loved one can bring therapeutic relief. Chiew Yi, the mother of Star PALS patient Zachary, was invited to share Zach’s story and her thoughts. “On the night before he passed away, we did an impression of his handprint,” she shared. “I think the journey is very important and it is important to have memories.”
“After a few months, I thought about it and realised there’s nothing that I really regret in this journey. I did everything I could for my child. I spent a lot of money on a beautiful niche, a beautiful spot for him.
“I feel like this baby is special. I journeyed with him from the start all the way to the end.”
Chiew Yi’s sharing was poignant in its candidness, in the shared belief that every child’s life is precious, no matter how brief the journey may be.