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Bereavement Support

Lurie Children’s is dedicated to the health and well-being of children and families. The Heartlight Program expands the mission of the hospital by addressing the needs of families facing loss.

The death of a child is undoubtedly one of the most difficult experiences a person can face in life. The mission of Heartlight, our bereavement program, is to offer support and resources to grieving families when confronted with a loss.

There are no words that can erase the pain from the death of a child, nor is there is a “right way” to go through the grieving process, but we hope that our staff can be a resource and support to you and your family. Heartlight can be reached at 312.227.3930 or heartlight@luriechildrens.org. Contact us Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CST.

Heartlight is guided by four principles of grief:

  • Grief is a natural reaction to loss for children and adults
  • The duration and intensity of grief are unique to each person
  • Within each individual is the innate capacity to heal oneself; and
  • Relying on caring and acceptance can assist in the healing process

Heartlight Picnic

Every summer, bereaved families are invited to participate in Heartlight’s Annual Picnic. During this event, bereaved families get to connect with one another, share about their experience, or participate in a variety of activities while still honoring their loved one.

Heartlight’s Annual Picnic will take place on September 18, 2022. All family members are welcome to join.

RSVP for the picnic is required by September 5. To RSVP, please click here: English | Spanish

Programs & Services

Serious Illness Support

Heartlight, in partnership with The Bridges Palliative Care Team, is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for children and their families who are coping with life-limiting conditions. The team is available to meet with families, community organizations, and Lurie Children’s staff for support, education, and assistance when the death of a child is anticipated.

Hope of Heartlight

The Hope of Heartlight program extends bereavement support to families through phone calls and regular mailings about the grieving process, with hopes of helping to guide families through the grief process.

Support Groups

Heartlight facilitates a support group specifically for families who have had a child die. A Parents Group and a Sibling Group meet concurrently at an offsite location. The goal is to provide a safe environment for families to find comfort and understanding by meeting with others who have experienced a similar loss. Following dinner and conversation, parents and children retreat to separate areas, where parents are able to give and receive support from each other, while the children gather in age-specific groups to participate in activities led by Heartlight staff and volunteers to help explore and express their feelings of grief.

The program is offered in English and Spanish. There is no charge to participate in the support groups and they are open to the community.

Intake is required. Please call 312.227.3930 to schedule an intake appointment with Heartlight staff. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CST.

Special Events

Throughout the year, bereaved families are invited to participate in several annual events that are dedicated to promoting remembrance and healing. To receive information on upcoming events, please email us at heartlight@luriechildrens.org.

Speakers Bureau

Heartlight is available for educational and supportive presentations as well as crisis intervention for medical professionals, community groups, schools and other organizations coping with loss. Presentations about supporting grieving families can be specifically designed for an audience of children, adults, and professionals.

Resources & Referrals

Heartlight maintains an extensive list of resources, bibliographies, and online sites that provide bereavement support. Assistance is also available in finding out-of-state resources.

View a list of resources