Chaplaincy Support to Bereaved Parents – Part 1: Liturgy, Ritual and Pastoral Presence
This article explores the spiritual needs of bereaved parents and the way chaplaincy support helped meet that need. It argues that underlying all other need was a loss of control experienced by parents. Alongside this, three further themes are identified: a loss of meaning and purpose, a loss of self worth, and a desire to do something. Liturgy and ritual provided by chaplains helped meet each of the spiritual needs. The ceremonies performed by chaplains were most meaningful to parents when accompanied by the chaplain relating well to them. Of particular importance was the ability of the chaplain to draw alongside parents through attentive listening. As a contrast to the rotation of nurses and doctors, parents often viewed chaplains as a consistent or constant presence. It is recommend that, if possible, the same chaplain provides support to parents throughout.