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Heart of Kent Hospice social worker marks Dying Matters Awareness Week with debut book 'Precious Time'

A social worker from Aylesford has written a book to help children understand their feelings and emotions when it comes to bereavement.

Lyndsey Stukalov-Stone has written 'Precious Time' which has been released as the UK marks Dying Matters Awareness Week.

Lyndsey Stukalov-Stone, author of 'Precious Time'
Lyndsey Stukalov-Stone, author of 'Precious Time'

Lyndsey works at Heart of Kent Hospice and supports children, young people and families who are facing a terminal illness.

She provides invaluable care from the point of diagnosis through to bereavement, and tailors her support to meet the individual needs of each family.

A key question she often faces from families is how to tell a child the news a loved one is going to die.

Becoming frustrated at the lack of resources aimed at having this conversation, she decided to use her own experience as a qualified Social Worker and Counsellor and wrote the book to help families facilitate these discussions.

Lyndsey explains: “Precious Time provides families with a sense of language and direction on what to say.

Heart of Kent Hospice near Maidstone
Heart of Kent Hospice near Maidstone

"Our instinct is to protect children and not upset them, but they want to know what is going on.

"It is less anxiety-provoking for a child to understand why people are upset rather than using their imagination.”

Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs from May 10 to 16, aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

Lyndsey was conscious of the journey children go through during these challenging times and made sure the book also talked about the need to take breaks or focus on an activity.

She says: “This gives the child permission to still have fun because they can experience a lot of guilt around this. Families can be quite confused that one minute their child is upset and the next minute they are playing and acting as if nothing is happening.

“Children will jump in and out of their experience, so this book is to educate the parent on that journey and to reassure them this is healthy and there is no right or wrong way to do this. It is as unique as the child and the family.”

The book's artwork was created by local designer Vanessa Brown, and printed by Scarbutts Printers in Aylesford, both long-term supporters of the hospice.

Heart of Kent Hospice is jointly publishing Precious Time and copies of the book will be given to patients under the care of the hospice.

Local organisations who work with children facing family bereavement will be gifted a copy and the book will also be available to purchase from the hospice.

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