Mother of Blaise Etheridge-Clarke sets up support group for bereaved parents

York Press: Blaise Etheridge- Clarke, right, with brothers Christian, Jerome, mum Theresa, dad Tony and brother Zach Blaise Etheridge- Clarke, right, with brothers Christian, Jerome, mum Theresa, dad Tony and brother Zach

A GRIEVING mum from York whose six-year-old son died after a nightmare battle with cancer is starting a support group to help other parents through the horror of losing a child.

Theresa Etheridge-Clarke, of Rawcliffe, has spoken of her pain since her son Blaise died a year ago, and of the strength she has taken from speaking to other bereaved parents online.

Now she wants to use her experiences to help other families going through the same thing, and is about to launch a special support group in York so grieving families can talk to others in the same situation.

Theresa said: “The last year has been horrendous. I am someone who likes to talk, I will tell anyone who listens about how rubbish I feel and how awful it is losing a child.”

She said she was starting the new group because, although Child Bereavement UK offered advice and support, she had been somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of written information from them, and support from another charity, Cruise, was not specific to the loss of a child.

But speaking to other bereaved parents in online support groups had helped her enormously.

“I want to talk to other parents who understand because it does help,” she said.

Although others are well-meaning, Theresa said she found it frustrating to hear cliches such as “time will heal.”

“I want to scream because how can time heal? How can my life ever be the same without my little Blaise?”

Theresa also hopes the new group will help her four children, who have struggled to talk to their own friends about how it feels to lose a sibling.

“My 15-year-old niece has found it really hard as well.

She can’t talk to her friends at school because at 15 you don’t know what death feels like.”

Blaise was diagnosed with brain cancer just before his first birthday, and died on Boxing Day about five years later after gruelling treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and brain and spinal surgery.

The first meeting of the support group for bereaved parents in York will take place on Monday, February 3, at 7pm at Clifton Alliance Cricket Club in Shipton Road.

More information is available on a Facebook page, or by contacting Theresa on email at etheridge8@sky.com or by phoning 07883 059580.

Comments (1)

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1:28pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Daisy75 says...

I'm never entirely sure why people feel the need to set up their own group or charity in response to such awful events rather than work within the existing infrastructure. Presumably Child Bereavement UK would have experience setting up such groups and could advise her about possible problems than might arise, rather than reinventing the wheel as she's doing. What will she do if one of her groups members tries to harm themselves or becomes seriously depressed as is not uncommon following the loss of a child? It's a noble thing to try and support others as she's doing, but there are a lot of pitfalls that involvement with more experienced people could help with.
I'm never entirely sure why people feel the need to set up their own group or charity in response to such awful events rather than work within the existing infrastructure. Presumably Child Bereavement UK would have experience setting up such groups and could advise her about possible problems than might arise, rather than reinventing the wheel as she's doing. What will she do if one of her groups members tries to harm themselves or becomes seriously depressed as is not uncommon following the loss of a child? It's a noble thing to try and support others as she's doing, but there are a lot of pitfalls that involvement with more experienced people could help with. Daisy75
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