A book to help terminally ill parents keep a memory bank of happy family life for their children was launched by the charity Barnardo's yesterday.
The "memory book" targets men and women affected by HIV and Aids, and will explain how to keep a library of memories for children and partners to look back on.
The idea follows a Barnardo's report in June which estimated that by 1997, 4,000 young children will have a mother who has tested positive for HIV.
Barnardo's workers had already experienced the worries of parents who did not want their children to remember them solely by the pain and suffering caused by their illness. They believe the new book will offer them peace of mind.
"Not only do children find it helpful to have these memories, it can be a relief for the parents, because it is fun to do, and they know that they will never be forgotten," said Lisa Stacey, a Barnardo's spokeswoman. "The book tells them how to use as many methods as possible, including photographs, scrapbooks, and videos, to record events and feelings."
The charity, which held a conference on bereavement services for children in London yesterday, also launched a children's storybook, Selina's Story, about a young girl who tries to cope with her mother's illness. The book is aimed at 4- to 8-year-olds who, it is hoped, will be able to identify with Selina.
"When you have worked with children who are coming up to a stressful part of the illness, you see that it can be very helpful because they feel extremely isolated," said Ms Stacey.Reuse content