We asked some of our bereaved parents and sibling Compassionate Friends members to share how they have been coping during the lock down and distancing restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
We hope you will find some aspects you can relate to - to know you are not alone - and maybe discover some tips for yourself in managing this period of isolation. Thank you to bereaved parents Maria, Mary, Clare, Claire and Abi, and to siblings Kyla, Catherine and Anmika for sharing their thoughts with us.
Join us...one-off specialist virtual support groups.
Due to the current public health situation, we are unable to host any in-person support days or weekend retreats and gatherings. So, instead, we have planned a series of one-off virtual support groups for you – meaning you can access a group from home and still experience that special connection with, and understanding of, other bereaved parents or siblings.
Please don't be daunted by the technology as it is relatively straightforward to access an online group on a computer or tablet (or even a smart phone – although the group experience is not always so good on a phone).
Our first groups running will be:
* The grief of fathers (men only)
* Loss of a baby, toddler or young child (4 years and under)
* Bereaved adult siblings (18 years+ and over)
* Parents bereaved by substance or alcohol use
* Parents bereaved by suicide - for parents
* Parents bereaved of a school age child (5-16 years old)
* Parents who have lost their only child/children (childless parents)
Places in these one-off virtual groups are very limited.
Please note the groups are open to UK residents only and will be facilitated by volunteers.
In light of the recent Government recommendations that the UK population should wherever possible avoid social contact and that all non-essential travel and meetings are avoided, we have made the decision to suspend all Compassionate Friends group support meetings and face to face support due to the rise in the spread of coronavirus. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but rather it is to protect the health of our members and the wider community.
Our new Chair of Trustees, and bereaved dad, Andrew Miller, writes with huge honesty about the loss of his 19 year old son, Fabian, and his hopes for his 3 years tenure as Chair of our charity.
Dear Compassionate Friends,
Let me start by introducing myself as the new Chair of trustees of The Compassionate Friends. Many of you know me from one of the many retreats where I have volunteered over the last 3+ years and most recently at our amazing 50th Anniversary Commemoration held over the first weekend of November 2019 at Horwood House where I took on the role of compere.
I want to use my first “Thoughts from the Chair” to tell you a little bit about myself, what brought me to Compassionate Friends and what I have been doing over the last few years as a volunteer and trustee of TCF.
But first, I want to take this opportunity to say a huge vote of thanks to the person whose shoes I am stepping into, our wonderful Maria Ahern. Under Maria’s watch our Charity has grown from strength to strength. We now have over 90 support groups nationwide, run at least seven weekend support retreats every year for parents and siblings and last year saw us celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Compassionate Friends.
On Saturday 15 February a newly one-day supportive event in Chesterfield, Derbyshire was held for bereaved parents. It was run by Jan and a small team of volunteers - Mike, Pat, Lorna and Sue. We have had some wonderful feedback from the day - it is so good to see what a difference peer-to-peer support can make to grieving parents - finding out we are not alone, and that our feelings and reactions are 'normal' in our far-from-normal situation.
Sharing some of the feedback with you here...
“Just a note to thank you for yesterday. I found it a revelatory and widening experience and so liberating to be able to talk with, and listen to, others… a really outstanding occasion.” J
“I'm so glad I came …You were right once we walked in there was a warm welcome and we suddenly felt safe. It was like a sense of belonging, away from the real world. I needed that day as I did not feel alone anymore.