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A Good Mourning

Thank you to the wonderful Maria Ahern for her wise, honest, moving and inspiring words on Wednesday evening. Maria shared with over 150 bereaved parents and family members her personal perspectives and reflections since the loss of her only child, her son James, and how she has found ways to have a 'good mourning'. Thank you to everyone who attended. It was wonderful to see you all. Some feedback from Maria's talk is below.

‘Look up.
Blink. Breathe. Repeat.
And then, not just a Good Mourning, you’ll have had a Good Day.’
(Maria Ahern - from Maggie Pinsent's report below)

Read Maggie's review of Maria's talk here


"Maria saw that she needed to survive positively and chose to survive by co-existing with James and Grief in a Good Mourning. “U” are central in the Mo”u”rning and you need to find your own equilibrium". Judith Pinfold

Read Judith's review of Maria's talk here

"A big thank you TCF and the inspirational Maria Ahern. It broke my heart to see you this evening and to hear you describe your beautiful boy, James, and how life with him was a dance. And then it all ended so abruptly 6 years and 2 weeks ago. 3 years and 6 months on this journey that too started with a bend in the road, I feel so far from where you are now, all while knowing you were where I am and still are at times. And yet not only do you have a good mourning but even manage good days. I also learnt tonight that it's about taking baby steps; and that's ok. And that it's ok to trip and fall at times. Because after all, it's our children we're talking about. And then the conversations with James; how wonderful. I can't wait to start mine with Cleo. Because life without her is just so silent." Hebatallah

"I thought Maria's talk was wonderful. I laughed..and cried and learnt so much and I know that so many there felt the same. We all breathed in and out together knowing we share the pain and the love". Sharon

Maria's conversations with James on Facebook are here

More about The James Ahern Foundation


Our next guest for our online series of talks is author, Cathy Rentzenbrink, on 13 October at 7 pm. Find out more and register here.

Trustee Election 2020

Do you have passion, skills and expertise that could help The Compassionate Friends (TCF) to continue to improve and develop in the coming years? The voluntary role of Trustee with our charity is both rewarding and fulfilling and our currentBoard of Trustees would like to invite interested applicants to apply to help run our charitable organisation which offers peer support, understanding and hope to bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents. In November 2020 there will be 6 vacancies for elected Trustees on our Board.

The Board would be particularly assisted by individuals with skills and experience in areas such as but not limited to

* Human Resources

* Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

* Communications/Marketing

* Experience of Health Service/Mental Health Services

* Digital Marketing/Social Media

* Training and Events Management

We are highly committed to widening the diversity of the Board and warmly encourage applications from a broad and deep range of backgrounds and experiences.

Personal Reflections on Finding Meaning

Bereaved mother and Compassionate Friends Grief Companion Coordinator, Shirley Gower, offers her personal reflections on TCF's online event held in early August with inspiring guest speaker, Dr Sangeeta Majahan. Over 170 attended to listen to Sangeeta's honest, moving and helpful talk on Finding Meaning After Loss.

(please note that we were unable to record the first 10 minutes of Sangeeta's talk).

"There were so many beautiful thoughts in Sangeeta’s presentation, that I would recommend you seek out the video recording and let them all wash over you. The reactions from the watching audience were coming in waves as each person responded individually to an image or thought that resonated with them personally.

Sangeeta talked of saying yes to life, in defiance of what that life has thrown at you. Like a shoot growing from a felled tree, it is in our nature to reach for the sun and the light. There are so many lessons to be learnt from nature. We can try to catch a butterfly, only to have it fly away. Yet if we just stand still, and focus on something else that makes us happy, the butterfly will come and land on our shoulder. I loved the idea that, while sunflowers turn to follow the sun, in its absence they turn to face each other. What a wonderful reminder of the essence of The Compassionate Friends and the way we reach out to other bereaved parents, when it feels like our light has gone out.

Finding Meaning After Loss

Join us on 5 August at 7 pm ONLINE to hear Dr Sangeeta Mahajan on the importance, possibility and ways of finding meaning after deep loss.

After the sudden loss of her beautiful son to suicide, Sangeeta lost all sense of self. Nothing made sense in this world of the ‘After’ she had been unwillingly pushed into. Nothing carried any value. Not even her own life.

Despite being a doctor, she had no clue how to carry on until she found purpose. That was the key to her survival despite the darkness of her grief.

Nearly 6 years on, she shares her big challenges and little victories on this rocky road.

Dr Sangeeta Mahajan is a Mental Health activist and educator and a Trustee of the national charity for prevention of young suicide, PAPYRUS. She dreams of a world where everyone lives with hope. Aside from individually supporting parents and young people, she has been a keynote speaker at various national conferences in the UK and in India. She also works as a Consultant Anaesthetist at a major teaching hospital in London.

Sangeeta has also spoken at retreats and weekend events run by The Compassionate Friends. Her words are always honest, moving, inspiring, helpful and hopeful for anyone who has suffered deep loss. We are truly delighted that she has agreed to begin, what we hope will be, a series of talks for bereaved parents and their families.

This event is free to attend online but we ask you, if you can, to help us to fund our services for bereaved parents through a voluntary donation when registering to attend. Once you register you will receive the Zoom link to attend the event.


Compassion magazine - now in new flipping book format!

The summer 2020 editions of the Compassionate Friends' bereavement support magazines have just been published and mailed out to all donating members of our charity. Thank you to all our editors and amazing contributors for the time and attention they have taken in making these publications so supportive and helpful to bereaved parents and siblings.

We are delighted, this month, to be able to put these 4 regular publications into a new digital flipping book format allowing you to ead them on your tablet, phone or computer.

View them all here:

Compassion, Summer 2020

Support our work

Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.

Make a donation

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