A day of laughter, celebration, expression and fun was had this July as we held our celebratory birthday party siblings’ day at our Hampton hospice, Shooting Star House. The annual party is held to to say Happy Birthday to Shooting Star House and commend the siblings on completing their school year.
Sarah Hodkinson, Lead Therapist at Shooting Star House explains the importance of the day, “Life in school can be complicated for siblings, as other pupils don’t always understand that life can be more tricky and exhausting for them. The ongoing emotional impact of uncertainty and worry can affect not only your emotional health, but your ability to concentrate on your school work and exams. Several of the siblings like very much to be involved in care tasks with their brother or sister – which can be wonderful thing, but tiring for them also. Some of our siblings face each day at school in the throes of the great pain grief brings. Others experience anticipatory grief as their brother or sister’s health worsens, and this type of grief before a death isn’t often acknowledged or understood by others. Being a place that knows and recognises these realities for siblings, is key to supporting and strengthening families.”
As part of the siblings’ day in July, the group decorated a birthday banner and made chocolate lollipops (despite the struggles of it being the hottest day of the year!)
They also held three therapeutic workshops for the siblings led by our drama therapist, music therapist and volunteer speech and language therapist.
Using creative materials, they allowed the siblings to stop for a moment and reflect on their experiences. “We learned together about how creativity can be helpful in identifying and expressing feelings that we may not even know we have,” said Sarah.
Then it was time for some colourful fun with our unique colour run obstacle course in Shooting Star House garden. Sarah said, “The air was full of bright coloured powder as the siblings, who couldn’t quite believe they were allowed to, threw coloured powder at the other team members tackling the obstacle course. Screams of glee and excitement could be heard from the garden! We completed the day in the cool shade of our trees, singing Happy Birthday and each sibling blowing out the birthday candle in their special Shooting Star birthday cupcake.
Our siblings’ days are built around therapeutic activities, as well as having fun and making friends with those in similar circumstances. The days also allow children to explore their own interests and express themselves in a variety of ways.
Some feedback from siblings include, “Siblings’ day helps me because I make friends and express my feelings.” “Siblings’ day helps me because it makes me think of my brother.” “It has helped me because other people have had the same thing happen as me.” “Well I think it is really good as other people have similar thoughts so you know they can talk to you and you can talk to them. I think it is amazing.”
Shooting Star House celebrated it’s 14th birthday on Monday 5th August – watch our special birthday video here!
We provide an extensive range of counselling, therapies and support groups for the whole family including parents, siblings and grandparents. Find out more about the support we offer here.