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By My Side: New book shares bereaved parents’ voices




August 2016 How does a parent really feel when their child dies from cancer?


Redkite has published By My Side, a new book in partnership with the Kids Cancer Centre that shares the experiences of bereaved parents.


Redkite CEO Jenni Seton says By My Side was created to bring comfort to parents who have been through this devastating experience by sharing the thoughts and experiences of other bereaved parents.


“We want them to know they are not alone, and that there are others in a similar situation. We also want to offer insight and guidance to the family and friends around bereaved parents, who so often want to help but are unsure of what to say or do,” says Ms Seton.


By My Side is comprised of interview excerpts from researcher Leigh Donovan’s PhD study at the University of NSW. Supported by Redkite and the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, the 2012-16 study explored the unique support needs of parents whose child has died from cancer.


Ms Donovan says, “As a community we have become better at talking about illness, but we’re still very uncomfortable talking about death. This can make things worse for bereaved parents; talking about their child is often the best way to keep their memory alive.”


The book was released on 8 August 2016, to coincide with Dying To Know Day – a day dedicated to starting conversations around death and dying. By My Side gives suggestions about accessing professional support and how to engage family and friends.


Ms Seton said the bereaved parents in the book speak of love, life, loss, grief, and hope.


“I could talk about it (my daughter’s life) until my voice ran out. It’s not because I want to ram it down people’s throats, but because it’s so interesting and it’s so unique and she was so special. If I don’t talk about it, who will?” Mother, 2 years bereaved.


"I was determined to come back to work. I wanted to get back to some sort of normality. None of my workmates understood me though. I wanted to know how come my they say g’day but don't ask ‘how are you really feeling mate?’ Father, 6 years bereaved.
"It does get better, easier to live with. In some ways your life’s kind of ruined forever. But I think you just live a different life." Mother, 5 years bereaved.
Redkite offers By My Side to bereaved parents to keep, free of charge. To order, contact us at 1800 REDKITE (1800 733 548) or