Granby Hospital launches shooting star project for grieving parents

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Granby Hospital launches shooting star project  for grieving parents

When a child passes away in a hospital, a health professional known as a spiritual care practitioner is brought in to console parents and guide them through the long and arduous grieving process.
The loss of child is one of the most difficult experiences in life, Patrick Dupuis, a spiritual care practitioner for the CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS, said in an interview. It’s important to create a space to commemorate and honour the passing of the child, he explained.
Dupuis and the rest of the Granby staff have delivered special services to grief-stricken families for a long time. But it is often an unstructured process. It was only recently that he decided to strengthen the hospital’s offerings.
“It’s not a religious ritual; it’s absent of any religious affiliations or what not, and basically what we do is we light up a little lamp in the form of a star,” said Dupuis. “We light up the star in memory of the child that has passed.”
The hospital launched its Shooting Star Project on Monday. It’s a mourning ritual created by Dupuis with full support from the Eastern Townships local health authority and financed by the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de Granby (CHG).
When a death occurs for children between 0 and 17 years old, parents and medical staff are asked to place a star near the child as a final tribute. This is followed by a moment of silence, instrumental music, and testimonies.
“The music helps people to just stop what they’re doing and realize that even though this child was only with us for a few months or a few years, they have their dignity and we need to honour that life that has passed,” Dupuis said.
But it doesn’t end there. The hospital partnered with International Star Registry, a star registration system based in Canada. Parents can choose a star from the Little Dipper and name it after their child.

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