Offering Support, Care and Compassion for
Bereaved Parents, Siblings and Grandparents
Following the Death of a Child
Bereaved Parents of the USA
Bereaved Parents of the USA (BP/USA) is a nationwide organization designed to aid and
support bereaved parents and their families who are struggling to survive their grief after
the death of a child.
Any bereaved parent, sibling or grandparent is eligible to become a member of BP/USA.
Members are free to attend monthly meetings of their chapter, or any other chapter, as
often and as long as necessary to meet their needs.
Goals of the BP/USA
It is the goals of BP/USA:
- To educate families about the grief process and all its complexities as it applies to
the death of a child at any age and from any cause.
- To aid and support those who are suffering such a loss, regardless of race, creed
or financial situation.
- To provide monthly meetings with sharing groups and occasional informative
- To provide a library at each meeting place where members may borrow books
with up-to-date information about the grief process.
- To supply the telephone numbers of other bereaved parents, siblings and
grandparents who are able to offer support to other more newly bereaved families.
- To inform and educate members of the helping professions who interact with
bereaved parents as to the nature and duration of parent/sibling/grandparent
October - November
New Brandon Nighttime Meeting Added
All Meeting Times and Locations
at 7:00 pm
December 8, 2013
Why BP/USA Exists
Most families feel a need, after they have endured the most severe of life’s crisis, to have
some order restored in their lives. BP/USA provides an atmosphere where personal
change, growth and resolution of grief are most apt to occur.
There are no dues charged to belong to BP/USA. Voluntary donations may be made to
either the parent organization and/or the local chapters to help with expenses. All gifts are
BP/USA is Non-denominational
There is no religious creed involved. Members are free, however, to state their beliefs and
the role those beliefs have played in their lives.
How BP/USA Works
Members are at all stages of recovery and fluctuate among them. Some have deep
religious faith, other have lost their faith, while still others are adrift.
Attendance at the meetings brings together newly bereaved parents and those who are
farther along in their grief and have worked through many of their grief-related issues.
Although most parents feel isolated in the beginning, the group helps them to know they
haven’t been singled out for this unspeakable hurt. The most important thing our
meetings have to offer are members who listen with true empathy. They listen as parents,
siblings or grandparents relate the uniqueness of the child who has dies, the events that
surround the death itself, the bitterness and alienation that remain and the disappointment
over anticipated support that does not materialize. All are reassured that there isn’t a
reason to hurry the hurt along, as some nonbereaved suggest.
Hearing “I know” and “I felt that way too” is reassuring. However, parents learn that
each person’s grief experience is unique to that individual. Those attending soon come to
know that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor is there a timetable in grief.
BP/USA recognizes that not all bereaved families will need the help and support this
organization offers. Some families are well supported by family and friends as they move
through the grief process. Others, however, who do not have the understanding and
support of the people who surround them, will find BP/USA meetings a warm, safe,
understanding and comfortable place to be. There they have the opportunity to be with
other families who have also experienced the death of a child and may have something
beneficial to share. There is no claim that these meetings are therapy groups. Members
come to recognize that healing comes gradually through the sharing and support of others
with like circumstances that understand.
Some members, after benefiting from what BP/USA offers, choose to continue attending
the meetings to help the chapter in any way that they are needed. Some stay on, listening,
reading, facilitating, attending conferences and learning. They have seen a lot of pain and
a lot of healing. These invaluable members have received much more than they have
given and we call them “wounded healers.”
For the Newly Bereaved
Most bereaved parents experience one of more of the following:
- Feel physically exhausted, have difficulty sleeping, do not want to
go to sleep or get up.
- Feel tightness in the throat, heaviness in the chest, or a lump in the
stomach like a
- Have an empty feeling with appetite loss.
- Wander aimlessly, forget a thought in the middle of a sentence, neglect
to finish tasks, feel restless, look
for activity, but can’t concentrate.
- Have respiratory reactions—excessive yawning, gasping, hyperventilating.
- Experience feelings of anxiety.
- Think they are losing their mind
- Say to oneself: “If only I had···”
- Keep asking: “Why?”
- Feel they don’t want to go on.
- Feel the loss isn’t real, that the child will return.
- Sense the loved one’s presence by expecting the child to walk in the
door or phone at the usual time. Hear the voice or see the face.
- Look for the child in a crowd or see reminders unexpectedly.
- Need to tell and retell and remember things about
the child and the
experience of death.
- Cry at unexpected times.
- Feel able to cope and then fall back again
- a see-saw type of reaction.
- Feel depressed.
All of these reactions are natural and normal. It is important not to deny one’s feelings, but to learn to express them. Realizing that you are not alone in having these reactions is helpful. One’s balance is regained slowly through understanding and working through
the grief process.
It has been said that the bereaved underestimate their ability to survive. Many bereaved
parents, siblings and grandparents are proof that the self-help process in a group such as
BP/USA publishes a national newsletter, A Journey Together, which periodically lists
related support groups of interest to bereaved parents and families, books about parental
and sibling bereavement and upcoming conferences and other opportunities for bereaved
parents to meet together.
Author – Mary Cleckley
Written in memory of Jack Cleckley
Son of John and Mary Cleckley
Bereaved Parents of the USA
Tampa Bay Chapter
Post Office Box 7034
Brandon, FL 33508
Bereaved Parents of the USA
PO Box 622
St Peters, MO 63376