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At the end of the day I felt 'lighter'...support day in Hampshire

"At the end of the day I felt “lighter”. As if some of the weight of grief had been lifted by being shared".

Bereavement Support Day at The Wisdom Centre, Romsey, Hampshire on 2 September 2017

It would sound odd to anyone who has not lost a child that a gathering of grieving parents could be a “good” or even a positive and uplifting day. But the support day run by Joy Sebborn and Sue Brooks in Romsey at the start of September truly was a beautiful and special day.

Twenty one of us gathered at The Wisdom Centre in Romsey, a tranquil setting surrounded by wonderful gardens in the warm September sunshine. Some were newly bereaved by a few months while others were further along what can be a very lonely and isolating path.

Any nervousness we may have had was quickly banished by a cup of tea and plentiful biscuits. As I have always found with Compassionate Friends there is an immediate warmth, respect and empathy amongst us. We were able to talk freely about our children and our experiences of loss in a way we cannot usually do. This in itself is a huge relief as we so often have to hide our sadness to make others around us feel comfortable or simply because we just have to get on with our lives as we ourselves, or others expect us to.

Joy explained to us how as we continue with our lives, our love for our children and our loss does not diminish but our lives gradually broaden with our grief within it. At times, we may need to allow ourselves to “retreat” and at other times we may be able to do and even start to enjoy some of the things that we did before our loss.

We had time to do crafts and we made wooden hearts with our child’s name. After a delicious and nourishing lunch we had a beautiful walk through Romsey and along the river. I had no idea it was such a scenic town. On our return we were greeted by tea and homemade cake. We were given lots of practical suggestions for “Taking Care of Yourself” and Joy shared a poem with us that has given her comfort (They are Gone by David Harkins.)

At the end of the day I felt “lighter”. As if some of the weight of grief had been lifted by being shared. It also helped me recognise the importance of being kind to ourselves, however recent or distant our loss. Losing a child changes you and while our scars are not visible they are very real.

The day was completely relaxed and supportive. Everyone could participate as much or as little as they wished and all the activities were entirely optional. Joy and Sue had put so much thought and care into making us all feel very welcome and cared for. While we share our great sadness at the loss of our children, we also shared hope for the future and the knowledge that we are not alone. Joy and Sue, you are an inspiration. Thank you so much.

by Adelle Brenner, Celia's mum

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