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How did Mila cope with the loss of her father?

Mila is 13 years old. She lives with her parents and younger sister. Her mother is a professional foster carer. In recent years, the family has raised five children. Currently a 3-year-old boy lives with them. Mila is used to having children in the home who are being raised with love. She helps her mother a lot after school in taking care of her sister and foster the child. The father is very attached to the family. He is a favourite of his daughters. Unexpectedly, he dies. The family is in shock. Mila experiences it the hardest. She changes radically – runs away from school, wanders, does not help her mother. The mother is very worried about her and overwhelmed with all kinds of other problems. She turns to a psychologist, but Mila firmly refuses to see him. Support comes from the social worker who supervises the foster child. He refers the mother to a family group conference.

Mila feels alone in her grief. Precocious, relied on by others, suddenly without her father’s support, she feels like a small child – confused and lost. The question of the family meeting is ‘How can we help Mila cope with her loss?’. The participants are her mother and sister, maternal grandparents, paternal grandmother, uncle (mother’s brother), aunt (father’s sister) and two cousins. The father’s family has not maintained ties with the girl’s family for years, due to disagreement about becoming a foster family. The father’s death changed the relationship overnight and the relatives were reunited for the first time in years. And they make a plan: Mila will see a psychologist for a month and if she doesn’t like it, she’ll stop. The uncle will take a leave and will spend at least a month with his sister’s family to help her with the children, the house and various documents. The aunt invites Mila to visit them a nearby town to spend time with her daughters and get to know each other. Mila will resume her swimming training at school.

After a few months, the mother and the uncle review the plan. Mila continues to see a psychologist and feels more relaxed. She has enrolled up for swimming again. She is looking forward to the start of the school year. During the summer she visited her aunt for a couple of weeks and with her cousins went hiking in the mountains= They got to know each other and became friends. The grandparents and other relatives have supported the family with various donations. The mother is now able to manage the household, which is affecting the relationships at home. Mila is gradually beginning to accept the loss of her father, but everyone is aware that this will take time and is supporting her. She feels that she is not alone in her loss and in fact the loss is for everyone.


A story from Bulgaria

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