Thursday, 14 October 2010

Guestie: Grieving a child - a new resource for families experiencing loss

Many thanks to regular commenter, and relatively new blogger, Scuba Nurse for sharing this.  Cross-posted from her blog, Well behaved women rarely make history.

Note: the base details of this write up were taken from the details of an interview with the Bay of Plenty Times.

I want to thank Liz, primarily for writing this incredible book, and also for allowing me to write this, I hope this will help market the book and allow the community to know about this new resource.
Please pass the word around. As activists in various different women’s interest
groups we are ideally set to pass the word around.


It is not often that a book comes out, and I want to;
A) Get it NOW
B) Buy multiple copies for my friends.

Recently I got a wee note from a friend of mine who wanted to let people know that his sister has written a book.
The number of books I have read because I know the author, and then wished I had that couple of hours back...
This is different.

For a start it is a book written to help families cope with bereavement and the process of a stillbirth.
Liz Tamblyn has self-published 300 copies. She hopes the book will be a valuable tool for people working with children dealing with grief .

Secondly Liz is the author and it is written in first person perspective, but
not hers...
The book is called Baby Sam and is in the voice of Baby Sam’s big brother Jack, who was 4 when Sam was stillborn.
Liz wrote the story soon after Sam's death four years ago.
"A lot of it is Jack's words. I read it to him seven or eight times and he corrected the bits I got wrong."
There are not too many times in your life you remember minute to minute. The day you realise your child is gone is one of those moments.

Sam was six days overdue when a check-up discovered that he had died. Liz had felt him moving just the day before.
She knew about stillbirth through her cousin’s experience 14 years before her, and what she had seen in the media, but nothing can prepare you for this.
What Liz’s book does help with is the process after. Grief, the experience of mourning as a family unit and the ways of remembering a child lost.
“The book tells how the family celebrated Sam's life with a special dance at his funeral and by releasing red balloons. Jack and his younger sister Sally received presents from Sam and had a birthday cake with a train on it to mark his birthday.”

This really hit home for me; we celebrated my friend’s son’s 18th birthday a few years back though he died quite soon after his 4th. The first birthdays were filled with the weight of grief, raw and unhealed. In contrast his 18th Birthday was a picnic on the grass; we each laid flowers on his grave and had our own private moments with him before joining the group for what was definitely a celebration. A celebration of his life and his family’s since his loss.

No one grieves the same way, or uses the same coping mechanisms, and so any resource to help support a child through a healthy and natural process of loss is highly relevant.
The BOP times reported that this is the only book on baby loss from the sibling’s perspective, which Liz has kindly let me know is incorrect.
In her words...
“There is another book put out by Skylight NZ, SIDS Wellington and Sands Wellington called "What Happened to Baby" (Which I highly recommend!). It is generic and could be any baby, for any reason at any age or gestation. The text has been carefully designed to fit a wide range of bereavement situations, including miscarriage, stillbirth, cot death and accidental or natural deaths of an infant or toddler. Ours is the only TRUE and PERSONAL story I have found on the subject.”
Liz who is also mum to Harry and Sally, found writing the book was extremely healing and therapeutic.
"It's almost like his life has left a legacy of helping other people through their grief. It's like a new purpose in my life, which I would never have had. I'd rather have him if I had the choice but I have to find the good things."

Mrs Tamblyn is a committee member for Sands, a support group for “families grieving the loss of a baby no matter the gestation or age or reason for death. (Not just stillbirth and newborn death).”

The book was officially launched at a private function in Tauranga last week.  Visit for more info.

1 comment:

Scuba Nurse said...

Thanks so much Julie, this coverage of an important issue is Much appreciated.