A new support group for military Families who are grieving the loss of a child
August 18, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - When most people find out they are going to be a mother or father, it is one of the most exciting and happiest times in their lives. Coupled with this excitement comes the anxiousness or worries about securing a safe and thriving environment for their children. Most parents want to offer their children a loving home, financial stability, a good education, and much more.
Often, before the child is born, parents imagine what their child may look like or what type of character he or she might have growing up. A mom may picture holding her baby boy for the first time or comforting him after every boo boo he gets. A father may picture giving his daughter driving lessons or 'giving her away' on the infamous wedding day. Unfortunately, some parents and parents-to-be may never experience some or any of these situations. The natural order of life is that children are supposed to bury their parents. But in some cases, it is the other way around. Some parents have to go through the pain of burying their children.
To help parents get through such a difficult time, Army Community Service is starting a new support group called 'Remember Me'. This support group is for military Families who are grieving the loss of a child. Remember Me is spearheaded by Mrs. Nichcole and Sergeant Dar De Kok, a Fort Stewart military Family who lost their only child to an untimely death July 7, 2011. Nine month old Sophia died from asphyxiation, a condition of being deprived of oxygen.
When asked why they are working so hard to get this support group up and running quickly at Fort Stewart, Nichcole stated, "There is no support group at Fort Stewart or the surrounding area other than one located in Savannah." The De Koks have been attending the off post support group in Savannah for the last four weeks. Meeting with other Families who have had the same experience as themselves has not only been very beneficial to them but has contributed to their process of grieving. Nichcole continues to say, "Being a part of a group gives us hope for our new normal. Life will never be the same."
"Also, some Families may not know about the Savannah support group or cannot get to it. I wanted to start Remember Me for military Families because I felt there is a need for it. The military supports Families in every way within the base, but this type of support is not presently available." The De Koks hope that the new support group for grieving parents will be a permanent part of the military and becomes available throughout the world for all military branches. Nichcole can even envision Soldiers downrange video conferencing with the Remember Me Support Group where the stateside parent is located.
Dar added, "Seeing other parents going through the same loss and hearing their stories help with our grieving process; therefore, it is helping us. I get a relief knowing that I am not alone. The Remember Me Support Group is open to all military Families who are caregivers (parents, grandparents, guardians, etc.) that lost a child to miscarriage, SIDS, still born, accidental death, etc., regardless of the age of the child. Nichcole also stated that, "It doesn't matter how long it's been since your child died. You are welcome to come because the grief is still there."
A Military and Family Life Consultant will be present at each meeting. A MLFC is a licensed Masters or Ph.D. leveled clinical counselor who provides non-medical, short-term situational problem-solving counseling. Additionally, a chaplain will occasionally attend meetings.
The new support group at Fort Stewart will be held at the Soldier Service Center (building 253, room 2074A) from 6 to 7 p.m. starting on Sept. 1 and will continue the first and third Thursday of each month thereafter. Once the group has been established at Fort Stewart, the next step is to start a group at Hunter Army Airfield. To find out additional information, please call Army Community Service at 912-767-2467/5058.