A very special wish

Sarah Fish asked her seven-year-old daughter Zoe, “If you could have one wish what would it be?” after a momentary pause she replied,

“My wish is to have Lilly back, so I could tell her I love her.”

Three years ago six-year-old Lilly lost her batter with cancer and Zoe lost her sister and best friend.

Lilly was diagnosed in February 2012 with a stage 1 Wilms Tumour, she was just four-years-old at the time. One day she was happy and healthy and the next she had a cancerous tumour. Her family were in shock and in an instant their whole life changed. After surgery and chemotherapy Lilly was cancer free, but six months later she relapsed and in 2014 surrounded by her family and loved ones she passed away.

Coping with grief is different for everyone, and the need for support varies. In 2013 one of our Family Support Practitioners Mei was matched with the family, to help provide tailored support from Lilly’s diagnosis, through the bereavement support they receive today. The connection between a family and their Very Special Kids Family Support Practitioner is a very special one, often the practitioner is the only constant in a turbulent and ever changing time for the family.

Over the last four years Mei has provided comfort and support for every member of the Fish family, especially Zoe. For many children having a seriously sick sibling can be a time of great confusion, resentfulness and loneliness, but for Zoe more than anything it was a time of immense sadness. Zoe was by Lilly’s side through it all and she was aware of everything going on.

Lilly is remembered by those that knew her as being full of love with an infectious giggle, she was always joking around and Zoe was her favourite person. The two loved to do craft and make art together, especially anything with glitter. It was a special love that they shared and when Lilly died Zoe was left devastated.  When Zoe is having a particularly tough time, Mei is always there to help and she uses art therapy to give Zoe the space to express how she is feeling and connect with Lilly.

Zoe says “When we do craft I can tell Mei anything. I especially like talking to Mei about Lilly. She is so nice and always listens.”

Losing a child to a terminal illness, effects the whole family but often it’s siblings that find it the most difficult.  The Very Special Kids Sibling Support Program was created to provide unique activities where siblings have the opportunity to meet other siblings in a caring and safe environment. The therapeutic framework allows children to not only explore their emotions, but also enhance self-esteem, encourage peer socialisation and reduce the sense of isolation. Six times a year, the Family Support Team invite siblings to special themed sibling days, filled with fun activities and opportunities to share feelings and connect with others.

Zoe regularly attends these days and she says, “I love the sibling days because I get to meet kids just like me who are missing their sister or brother too.” These children know exactly what each other are going through, and they find a comfort in one another that they can’t find anywhere else.

Sibling support services are limited across the state, but the need is undeniable. Without outlets for expression, children can struggle later in life, please donate today to ensure these crucial support services can continue to reach grieving siblings like Zoe.

Your generosity will support grieving siblings today.

Please donate.