Clare lost her 7 year old daughter suddenly 2 years ago. In this episode of the podcast, Conversations from the Coffee Shop, Clare shares her experience and story about loss, dealing with grief and how being present and in a moment with another person can help them.
With churches closed and the coronavirus lockdown firmly in place, the UK faces a very different Easter this year. More and more people each day experience the sudden loss of a friend or family member. Others fear deeply for loved ones who are elderly or vulnerable.
So how does the Easter story of death and resurrection help at this traumatic time, indeed does it help at all? In this edition of Things Unseen, Emily Buchanan talks to two remarkable women, including our own Trustee, Maria Ahern who have survived terrible sudden bereavement:
Can their experience enable others to cope better, with the loss of a child or the current crisis? And when the chips are down, how can faith help those who have lost a loved one find new hope?
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Liz Leake volunteers for The Compassionate Friends in the North East of England and she is based in York. Liz is our Regional Coordinator for the area, runs a support group in York and also is a member of the Helpline team. She has written a blog post about the death of her son Nick, how she has coped since and the support she has received from our charity.
Thank you Liz for sharing your story, how TCF has helped you and for raising awareness of our charity.
Thank you to TCF member, Alison, for writing to The Guardian newspaper about the support she has received through The Compassionate Friends. Her letter was published in the print and online editions in February 2020. Fantastic publicity for our charity - we reprint her words below.
Alison Bender draws readers’ attention to The Compassionate Friends charity in the hope of helping anyone who is grieving.
Following your article (You never stop grieving, G2, 3 February), concerning the death of a child, may I please draw readers’ attention to The Compassionate Friends, a registered charity that is a network of bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings offering support to other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause. The solace to be gained from the company of other parents who “just know” is hard to describe to those who have not experienced the anguish of this particular sort of bereavement. TCF is not very widely known – perhaps because most parents, myself included, shrink from contemplating losing a child. It was not until two years after the death of my 20-year-old daughter that I came across TCF, but it has helped save my sanity, and I wish I had found it sooner.
John Rainsbury writes... My wife and I have been attending TCF meetings in Bristol since we lost our 6 year old son Will on Valentines Day this year following a 9 month battle with an aggressive Brain Tumour.
Will was a beautiful, adventurous and “oh so cheeky” little boy, full of life and adventure. After a couple of weeks of feeling sick in the morning, we were referred to Bristol Children’s Hospital for a precautionary CT scan. After going through the standard questions and flying through the physical neurological tests, we were starting to feel awkward that we were wasting everyone’s time with a suborn tummy bug. We then got the news that the initial review of the scan was clear and we were to be discharged. We were packing up our things when a Consultant we hadn’t met came in ashen faced, the initial review was wrong, they had found a golf ball sized brain tumour! In a moment our world was shattered and we were in freefall.
The freefall continued, with each test came bad news. Eventually our diagnosis was a Group 3, Medulloblastoma, a particularly aggressive and metastatic variety. Treatment started swiftly and was intense including: a 12 hour brain surgery, 32 radiotherapy sessions, 6 months of high dose chemotherapy and multiple further surgical procedures.