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'You're not alone': Bereaved parents

AAP logoAAP 7/08/2016

All the lights went out for Brisbane mum Sally McAuliffe when her three-year-old son, Conor, died from liver cancer.

Nothing made sense and Ms McAuliffe felt like she was the only one.

Now she's one of 100 parents sharing how they picked up the pieces in By My Side, a book being published by children's cancer charity Redkite on Monday.

"I don't think there's a word. It's indescribable. There's nothing normal or right about it," Ms McAuliffe, a mother of four, told AAP.

"If you picture someone who's lost a leg - everyone could imagine how difficult life would be. When I lost Conor, it felt like there was physical hole in me.

"You have to learn how to go to the grocery store and not buy their favourite foods and how to sit at the table without them."

By My Side contains interviews with the real experts - not doctors or psychologists but survivors.

"It's written as quotes. It's not 'how to fix your grief'. It's 'this is what others have gone though so you're not alone'," Ms McAuliffe said.

She also promised grieving parents that it wouldn't always be so dark.

"It's OK that you feel like that now. But don't block living again. That won't bring your child back," Ms McAuliffe said.

"Just because I love and laugh and look after my kids doesn't mean I don't miss him.

"I've learnt to laugh and cry and live all at the same time. It does happen."

* Readers needing support can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14

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