0345 123 2304 helpline
Make a

Latest news

Finally back at a weekend retreat

On the weekend of 11-13 February 2022, we ran our first weekend retreat for bereaved parents for 2 years. The pandemic meant that we were not able to offer any supportive weekends for 24 months and it was absolutely brilliant to get back to supporting in person again. This weekend ran at the Ammerdown Centre, near Bath and we supported 50 newly bereaved parents (most bereaved in the last 2-3 years, some just within the last few months).

Carol attended the retreat for the first time and she has given us permission to share with you her experience of the weekend.

"Firstly, a big thank you to all the volunteers for giving their time, compassion and sharing stories of sadness alongside the hope that we all so desperately seek. Also to everyone who had an input in organising behind the scenes to make the weekend run smoothly, it was very well organised. Thank you!

From the Friday car park welcome by Terry and Carolyn to the warm welcome in the lounge where we met Jane it was friendly atmosphere and not too overwhelming.

The hardest part for me was putting on the lanyard with Adam’s name on. I didn’t want to be remembering him, I wanted to hold him and tell him how much I missed him. Holding Adam’s photo in the small group was also hard, after eighteen months my brain wanted to believe he was still working abroad or living down in London. I appreciate now this is all part of grief and learning to live with the loss.

Maria’s talk, ‘Am I going crazy,’ was brilliant, reassuring and just what I needed. Understanding the loss of a child and how to move forward in time.

The sharing sessions were all good and well facilitated.

Steve my husband very much enjoyed Terry’s walk and felt it good to see the local area. Talking to other parents outside of the centre was a relaxing distraction for him.

The ‘Men’s group’ was valuable as it offered him opportunity to talk to other father’s, although he is a regular on the dad’s online meetings it was good to sit and share support face to face in a safe environment.

I am not a writer and found the writing workshop very powerful. Some parents had their own journal’s and regularly put pen to paper. One mum wrote her words like a river flowing down the page. I’d forgotten my notebook! We didn’t share information about our child but I found the experience more emotional because it was about our feelings in that moment, what was in our head, our heart and our hopes for the future.

We analysed a couple of poems, starting with the important words and their meanings. Moving swiftly to having minutes to write a few words , looking at what we’d written, writing it more concisely with meaning. Everyone shared, some stumbling over emotive words and phrases. Finally writing our own short poem, everyone read what they’d written, although not compulsory. They were all brilliant, so different in content and structure.

The opportunity to write with guidance, in a safe nurturing environment with parents who had all had very different experiences of losing a child was cathartic and I felt very proud of what we’d all achieved. A wonderful experience which I would encourage anyone to do, no pressure about spelling or handwriting. Thank you Nigel and all the other parents who took part.

Initially the thought of creating a candle holder provoked my emotions as to why I was doing it. If I’m honest I’m not crafty and thought it was a bit tasteless. Steve and I shared making one together. Seeing the wonderful creations at the candle lighting was emotive and incredibly moving especially when Steve gave me Adam’s photo to hold. Thankfully we had the ‘Nuggets of Comfort and Hope.’ To lift us".

Comments: 0 (Add)

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

Loading Tap for Helpline chat