Adelle Brenner ran the London Marathon 2018 on 22 April in memory of her daughter, Celia and to fundraise for The Compassionate Friends. Here, Adelle writes movingly the day after about her inspirational run in the hottest Marathon ever in London and what it meant to her.
"What a day. Running the London Marathon for The Compassionate Friends was such an honour. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have supported me and TCF in memory of your children. Your love and kind words helped me carry on when I doubted myself.
The hottest London marathon on record after training in the coldest winter was awesome and awful in almost equal measure but I’m hugely proud that I finished it. I had to stop for a cry and a few jelly babies at mile 17 and was looked after by a lovely medic but I carried on and finished in 5 hrs 59 minutes.
For a long time after we lost our daughter Celia at 3 years old, nearly 7 years ago, I couldn’t imagine feeling joy like I feel today. My world was turned upside down when she died suddenly in an accident. I questioned everything I had believed in. My assumptions of a future watching my children grow up healthy and happy as I grew older proved to be wrong. The confident, positive person I had been was lost too.
The weekend of 21/22 April saw 30 bereaved siblings gather together for The Compassionate Friends overnight retreat at Woodbrooke in Birmingham. We have had lots of wonderful feedback from the bereaved brothers and sisters who came to the retreat to be together, share their stories and find understanding and hope after the loss of sibling early in life. Often called 'the forgotten mourners', this weekend was a unique opportunity for these bereaved siblings to find support and speak with others who have experienced a similar traumatic loss.
We are hugely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for funding the weekend and to the volunteers - bereaved siblings themselves - for organising this special supportive event.
Here's just some of the feedback we have received from the siblings that attended:
" This weekend has changed me as a person. I’ve met some of the bravest and most inspiring people I’ll ever meet. The people who understand the pain and heartbreak of losing a sibling, who are there to listen as well as share their sibling’s stories. These people I hope to continue to call friends. I can’t explain how amazing it is to talk to other people who have been through the same experience and won’t judge you because they understand everything you are saying". (G)
Bryan and Patsy lost their daughter and only child, Evie, just a few weeks ago Bryan has allowed us to share with you his thoughts about the TCF supportive weekend for newly bereaved parents at Willersley Castle in Derbyshire from 23-25 March 2018...
"Patsy and I have just got back from the Compassionate Friends Retreat in Derbyshire. Whilst this is a club that none of us want to join, being around people that understand, being able to talk openly and frankly about your child without people looking away, and just being able to cry without fear of judgement has been immensely liberating. Evie died just two months ago from a massive brain tumour and the pain is incredibly raw. But ..... after 2 1/2 days of discussions and openness we feel empowered to take on the future. Knowing that we aren't alone, knowing that we have new friends who WILL listen, knowing that it is just a few short months until we can go to another event such as this has given us the strength to get up tomorrow and tackle the future head on. It's not a future that we want, and the pain is still fresh and excruciating, but it is a pain that we can beat, thanks to a charity set upspecifically for people like us. Thank you to 'Compassionate Friends' for being there, for being a shoulder, for creating the type of environment to draw together like-minded people. Our daughter was a beautiful human being, intelligent, creative and caring. We owe it to her to carry on, to preserve her memory and to honour her. If you've not been to one of these events, please go, you won't regret it".
Jimmy Edmonds of The Good Grief Project is a TCF volunteer. Here he shares his thoughts about the group for bereaved dad's he led during the weekend.
OUT NOW....Compassion, our supportive magazine for bereaved parents written by bereaved parents....and TCF News, our charity newsletter with articles and features covering fundraising, events and other news going on in The Compassionate Friends.
We have also published a Newsletter especially for parents who have lost their only child or all their children, and a Newsletter for bereaved siblings called SIBBS (Support in Bereavement for Brothers and Sisters).
To receive these publications on a regular basis, please JOIN TCF as a donating member and they will be sent to you every quarter.
You can view all our publications online here:
Childless Parents Newsletter (for parents with no surviving children)
SIBBS Newsletter (Support in Bereavement for Brothers and Sisters)
A new private, closed Facebook group is offering peer support to parents who have lost a baby, toddler or pre-school child.
Your loss can have been just a short time ago or many years previously - all are warmly welcome. We hope the group will offer support, encouragement, some hope and friendship.
We hope the new group will give parents the opportunity to share experiences and pain, some of the difficulties related to the loss of baby or young child, share things that may have been helpful to us on this journey, and anything else that you are feeling since your child died and want to share, get feedback on, or just because you need to give words to your feelings. Together we support each other; together we remember our baby, toddler or child for the love, joy and memories we hold about them.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request to join. We will ask you a few questions - to keep the group safe for bereaved parents only - and then send you a link to access the group.