15 February 2018
It was some 5 years ago that I first met with the Milton Keynes Hospital Bereavement Officer, Kim, to talk about Harry’s Rainbow and our mission to support bereaved children in our area.
One of our meetings was held in the relatives room of A&E and I was immediately taken back to the time that Harry died and the room that we had been ushered into to receive the news.
It made me realise that, though the room seems irrelevant, it actually has an important role to play in delivering tragic news to relatives or supporting already grieving families. It became my mission to transform this space from a cold and unfeeling room to a calm and thoughtful area with soft furnishings to comfort and resources to aid.
The first book we read to Harry’s twin, Jessica , following the loss of her brother was Waterbugs and Dragonflies, a beautifully written story about a water bug community who couldn’t understand why their friends disappeared up the water lily stems and never returned. When I visited Kim I also noticed that she used the Dragonfly as an indicator of the Bereavement area and she explained the reason why; that Worldwide the Dragonfly is seen as a symbol for those who are grieving.
Regrettably it would be some time before my mission was able to be possible and that was down to finances, time and resources for Harry’s Rainbow and the upgrading works within MKUH. However they say that good things come to those who wait and I’m so thrilled that the project was finally launched in 2017 with a group of like minded and equally passionate people from both Harry’s Rainbow and MKUH.
We discussed the objectives for the room and ideas for furniture and colour schemes over a few meetings and also visited the room again to understand what practical needs there were. This resulted in some minor changes that would have a big impact, such as simply changing the way a door opens and replacing stark lighting with adjustable dimmers.
A key element to the room for me was to have an area where information could be left for families who needed it. Books and resources for bereaved children and information about various charities and organisations in the area.
It was important to me to involve some of the bereaved children we support so they had something to work towards and to be proud of as well as the overriding theme of grief provoking thoughts. Ideas flourished as I spoke with a local textile artist about creating some artwork that would feature the Dragonfly! In November Jane attended our Rainbow Group along with some fabric she had dyed and prepared with a range of Dragonfly shaped stencils for our youth group (HRYG) to print onto using a range of pearlescent colours and stamps.
By early 2018 we had chosen and costed the furniture and agreed carpet, flooring and wall colour. The outcome of the artwork is far more beautiful than I had imagined. When Jane returned in January to show them how it was looking after she had begun the embroidering process the teens were thrilled with the result. Serene greens and turquoise will coordinate beautifully with the amazing masterpiece, which will be the focal point in the room.
As the first signs of spring approach, the Dragonfly Project team are working hard to bring the elements together in the hope that we can complete the room by the end of the Spring.
We are lucky to have had help so far from various organisations including Lynx Networks, Shutter Solutions, Neville’s Special Projects & the Milton Keynes Hospital Charity who are on board our team have agreed to purchase the 2 pieces of furniture.
What we are still looking for is help with framing 2 pieces of A1 Textile artwork and a landscaping company to help us to realise our vision to create a rainbow path of pebbles that would be viewed from the relatives room.