A Father’s Grief – Behind the Bravado

Bereavement experts from the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) are today [Sunday 16 June 2013] unveiling a powerful  and moving new book for the dads of young people who have tragically lost their lives to sudden cardiac death.

The book, “A Father’s Grief” * – which has been compiled by CRY’s Chief Executive and Founder, Alison Cox MBE, who was a bereavement counsellor, features 10 personal ‘essays’ from men who recount and talk through their personal experience of suddenly losing child.

It will be officially launched to coincide with ‘Father’s Day’, a date in the calendar that is often exceptionally hard for bereaved father’s to bear and a time that many other bereaved fathers across the UK may be looking for specialist support and advice, particularly from those who have been through a similar experience.

Every week in the UK, 12 young (that is, aged 35 and under) people die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these young people have no signs or symptoms and so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is by having a CRY screening test.

Alison Cox, says; “I have supported bereaved families for over 18 years and those who have contacted us are most commonly mums. However, dads – often perceived as the ‘head of the household’ and the family member expected to ‘manage’ when faced with such a devastating situation also need to have their grief recognised and an opportunity to talk about their own harrowing experience.

“Men grieve differently to women and very often their grief is not properly understood.”

 

 *The development of CRY’s Bereavement Support Programme was initially funded by a 3 year grant funded by the Department of Health

 

CRY offers telephone support with volunteers who have suffered the sudden cardiac death of a child, sibling or partner and who received two years of counselling training. CRY also holds regional and national bereavement support events across the UK for families who have been affected by young sudden cardiac death. However, over the years, those attending and seeking support have been mums.

Later this year (21 September 2013) will see CRY hold its first Bereavement Support Day, exclusively for dads.  The event will give attendees the chance to listen and talk to other fathers about their tragedy and by sharing their feelings will release the emotions buried for so long.

Alison adds; “This booklet has been compiled to help other dads, who are suffering from the catastrophic impact of the sudden cardiac death of a fit and healthy child, to feel less alone. After many years of talking to fathers whose lives have been devastated by this terrible ordeal, I know that many focus acutely on supporting those closest to them, whilst side-lining their own searing grief. Their sense of responsibility to withhold their feelings for the sake of their family results in a painful and combustible cocktail of suppressed emotion.”

Since 1995, CRY has received thousands of calls from families wanting to speak to others who have suffered similar tragedies. CRY has found that in many cases, no matter how much professional support is offered (either medical or therapeutic), sometimes just talking to someone who has been through a similar experience, can provide the best help.