What Your Gift Supports


“There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child.  Things never get back to the way they were.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sometimes in life, events occur that fracture the very foundation on which we stand. Life is forever changed.  Losing a child is this kind of event, whether that child be 5 years of age — or 5 months in utero.  Inevitably, the parents develop a tremendous need for clinical intervention in the form of grief counseling, bereavement, and spiritual counseling. Because some insurance coverage is provided, and also because of generous support we have been receiving from the philanthropic community, Valley Home Care’s Butterflies program has been able to provide this kind of supportive care to the parents suffering from the death of a live-born baby.   But, unfortunately at this time, if there is perinatal loss, i.e. if the child is lost earlier in the pregnancy — is a stillbirth, or newborn death — these critical services are not able to be offered to these grieving parents.  

The VHC Butterflies program is expanding its services to include this demographic of patients suffering from perinatal loss, called the Butterflies Wings of Compassion program.  There is nothing like this service anywhere within Bergen or the neighboring counties, or even within the state of New Jersey.  The populations that will be addressed in the Butterflies Wings of Compassion program are parents suffering from perinatal loss, and since one in every 5 pregnancies ends in perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of a newborn), the potential reach is great.

The Butterflies Wings of Compassion  program will provide this unique subset of grieving parents with a nurse visit immediately after the loss to assess their physical and mental state post loss, grief counseling, bereavement, and spiritual counseling.  Materials will be an imperative component of this initiative, and may be in the form of staff education, patient educational handouts, reading materials, booklets.  Materials may also include unconventional supplies, such as seed kits to plant and help in the recovery process, canvases and painting supplies used for art therapy, teddy bears that are weighted to provide the empty patient’s arms with the sensation of holding a “real being”, and direct them towards appropriate community resources.  These services can also extend to siblings and grandparents.

The Butterflies Wings of Compassion program is designed to help these suffering parents physically and emotionally regarding the loss of the child.  Similar to the initial Butterflies program, the team would consist of nurses, social workers, chaplains, art therapy specialists, and volunteers, and they will be trained how to appropriately address questions and concerns, provide a proper death and burial for the child, provide resources for more counseling, and ultimately help that person(s) work through the grief, and begin to heal.