Bereavement Support

Lurie Children’s is dedicated to supporting the well-being of children and families who trust us with their care. The Heartlight/Luz del Corazón Program embraces the mission of the hospital to provide compassionate care for all of our patients and families by addressing the needs of families facing loss.

The death of a child or sibling is undoubtedly one of the most difficult experiences a person can face in life. The mission of Heartlight/Luz del Corazón, our bereavement program, is to offer support and resources to grieving families experiencing loss.

Heartlight/Luz del Corazón 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
  • Caring and acceptance from others can assist in the healing process

Programs & Services

End of Life Support

When a family is facing end of life with their child in Lurie Children’s Hospital, they are offered support in many ways by our chaplain staff, music therapists, child life specialists, physicians and nurses. This support includes:

Psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support

Throughout a patient and family’s end of life journey, professional staff members are available 24/7 to provide empathetic, compassionate, holistic support for patients and their families. This support is personalized and aligned with the preferences, traditions, backgrounds, culture and needs of both the patient and family. We are also attentive to practical needs and provide sleep beds, in collaboration with Ronald McDonald House, and comfort carts.

Memory making / Legacy items

The spiritual care team collaborates with child life specialists and nurses to offer families opportunities to create lasting memories of their child. Hand and foot prints, and hand or foot molds, can be made with family member’s help and are taken home by the family.

Memories Held Photography

Memories Held Photography, a Heartlight/Luz del Corazón program offered at no charge to parents of children near end of life, provides a photography session in the patient’s room at a time of families’ choosing. Working unobtrusively the photographer takes photographs without flash or posing in the precious, sometimes fleeting, moments families have to spend with their child. The goal is to capture the unique beauty of each child, loving relationships with family and others. An intimate photo album and files are presented when families are ready. The photographs often become treasured keepsakes.

Heartbeat Recordings

Our music therapy team offers patients and families the opportunity to create a recording of a patient’s heartbeat as a memory keepsake or legacy piece. The music therapy team may partner with nurses, child life specialists, or chaplains to record the sounds of a patient’s heartbeat using a digital stethoscope. A music therapist then edits each recording to ensure the heartbeat sounds are clear and audible and provides the files to the family digitally. Additionally, families and/or patients may choose to integrate a song into the sound of the heartbeat to create a meaningful and personalized recording.

Hope of Heartlight/Luz del Corazón

The Hope of Heartlight/Luz del Corazón program extends bereavement support to families who have lost a child at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Heartlight/Luz del Corazón staff follow up with families for 18 months after the death of their child with periodic check-in phone calls and mailings. Phone calls provide a safe space to talk with someone about grief and relevant issues, and an opportunity to learn about our other resources. Mailings include reflections and guidance, with hopes of helping to guide families through the grief process. Families can opt out of phone calls and/or mailings at any time by contacting the Heartlight/Luz del Corazón office.

Support Groups

Heartlight/Luz del Corazón facilitates support groups specifically for families who have lost a child to death. The goal of our support groups is to provide a safe environment for families to find comfort and understanding by meeting with others who have experienced a similar loss.

The program is offered in English and Spanish.  The parent groups meet twice a month, once virtually and once in person at an off-site location.  During the monthly in-person support groups, a sibling support group is also offered for siblings 18 years old and younger. Following dinner and conversation, parents and siblings retreat to separate areas, where parents offer and receive support from others, while the siblings gather with Child Life Specialists to participate in activities to help explore and express their feelings of grief.

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/Luz del Corazón staff.  

Special Events

Heartlight/Luz del Corazón hosts three annual events: the Memorial Service in late spring, a Picnic in late summer, and the Candlelight Service in December. To receive information on upcoming events, please email us at

Wanting to support a bereaved parent and need guidance? 

Heartlight/Luz del Corazón team is here to support you and your loved ones. We recognize that there are different days in the year that may be hard for them such as anniversaries or birthdays. Throughout the year, we also acknowledge that there are other days where the grief can be more present:

  • July - Bereaved Parents Month
  • October - Child Death Awareness Month
  • October - Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month
  • November - Children’s Grief Awareness Day

We welcome your calls and emails. 

Resources & Referrals

Heartlight/Luz del Corazón maintains an extensive list of resources, bibliographies, and online sites that provide bereavement support. Assistance is also available in finding out-of-state resources. While Heartlight/Luz del Corazón does not provide formal grief counseling, we can assist you in finding a therapist in your area that has experience working with grief and loss.