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Bearing The Unbearable: Grief When A Child Dies

Guest speaker: Dr Joanne Cacciatore

4 May 2021, 19.00 – 20.15

ONLINE via Zoom

Join us to hear guest speaker, Dr Jo Cacciatore, sharing her reflections on love, loss and the heartbreaking path of grief after the death of a child.


We are delighted to welcome to bereaved mother, grief researcher, author, and acclaimed public speaker, Dr Joanne Cacciatore, to The Compassionate Friends UK. Joanne will share with us how she survived the loss of her daughter and her unique perspectives on love, loss, the heartbreaking path of grief and finding hope.

Based on her bestselling book, Bearing The Unbearable, Dr Joanne will discuss the terrible pain of loss —especially in the case of a traumatising death that leaves us shouting, “NO!” with every fibre of our body. The process of grieving can feel wild and nonlinear—and often lasts for much longer than other people, the nonbereaved, tell us it should. Her words are a companion for life’s most difficult times, revealing how grief can open our hearts to connection, compassion, and the very essence of our shared humanity. Through moving stories of her encounters with grief over decades of supporting individuals, families, and communities—as well as her own experience with loss—Cacciatore will open a space to process, integrate, and deeply honour our grief.


Dr Joanne Cacciatore is a bereaved mother - her newborn daughter died on July 27, 1994 - and that single tragic moment catapulted her unwillingly onto the reluctant path of traumatic grief. For more than two decades, she’s devoted herself to direct practice with grief, helping traumatically bereaved people on six continents. She’s also been researching and writing about grief for more than a decade in her role as associate professor at Arizona State University and director of the Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement program there. And, in addition, she’s the founder of an international nongovernmental organization, the MISS Foundation, dedicated to providing multiple forms of support to families experiencing the death of a child at any age and from any cause, and since 1996 has directed the foundation’s family services and clinical education programmes. Dr Jo's Facebook page is followed by thousands across the world, including many in the UK.

Dr Cacciatore's books are available to purchase at the links below or can be borrowed from the TCF library.

Bearing The Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief

Grieving is Loving: Compassionate Words for Bearing the Unbearable

Read more about Dr Joanne Cacciatore here.

This online event is part of our series of talks and other events to offer unique reflections and perspectives on the death of a child or young person and support parents, siblings and grandparents to feel less alone with their loss and grief.


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