Join us to hear Maria, Trustee and former Chair of The Compassionate Friends, as she talks honestly and with humour about her two constant companions, her son and her grief, and how the three of them walk side by side.
James was Maria’s only child and at 22 had grown into a beautiful young man. They were so similar both in looks and personality and they shared an extremely closely bonded relationship. Looking back, Maria describes her life with James as a beautiful dance. Suddenly, one sunny August afternoon a badly navigated bend on a road and the music stopped. Losing him felt as though she had been catapulted to a different planet. Nothing made sense and the familiar was now alien. The world had turned upside down and she didn’t have a clue how to navigate it without him. It soon became clear that what had previously been unimaginable, was now a permanent reality and that the only option was to acclimatise to the atmosphere of the new planet or suffocate. Maria knew that she would mourn her son for the rest of her life but how? What would life look like without James and did she even want to contemplate it? Could James continue to be a part of her life even though he wasn’t here physically?
She started to write to James and gradually the letters turned to conversations which, to her astonishment, became popular with other people on Planet Grief. This enabled Maria to include James in every new experience and helped to introduce him to people who otherwise would never have come to know his cheeky charm and his beautiful smile. Gradually a new morning dawned on this alien planet. A Good Mourning. A mourning that was peaceful and more comfortable than the darkness that had come before.
Join Maria as she talks honestly and with humour about her two constant companions, her son and her grief, and how the three of them walk side by side
In 2015 Maria became a Trustee of The Compassionate Friends and served subsequently served three years a Chair of the Board. She remains a Trustee and Volunteer for the Charity with particular emphasis on supporting parents who have lost their only child or all their children; The Childless Parents Group.
Soon after James died, The James Ahern Foundation was created "Enabling the Pursuit of Passion" in young people and helping them achieve their goals.
Maria is passionate in her belief that the traditional approach to grief must be dispelled and that we must encourage and promote change in the common attitudes to bereavement. She has spoken at retreats and events run by The Compassionate Friends, on the radio and more recently on a Podcast. She is a keen and enthusiastic writer and writes often for Compassion where extracts of her conversations with James can also be found. She writes and speaks from her heart and aims to give a voice to the language of grief.
Add a busy practice as a barrister and a healthy addiction to knitting and crochet and you have a small picture of the woman who is first, last and foremost, proud to be James Ahern’s mum.
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 and a few days before the event you will receive the Zoom link to attend.
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.