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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.

Listen to Finding Meaning After Loss here

(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.

It is difficult to embrace the possibility that some of our best days are yet to come. Yet the suggestion that our children are our spiritual guides, rang true for many of us. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed by my grief, I think `what would Jess say’? Immediately I feel more grounded and reassured. If we can fight on for anybody in this life, we can fight on for our children.

Sangeeta asked `what is the longest journey?’ and suggested it is from the head to the heart. Although for her this journey was made `in one second’ when her son Saagar died, for a long time we will try to shield our hearts from the pain and try to find some sense or logic in what has happened to us. Sometimes we can try too hard to fix things and make them right, yet if we allow our heart the time and freedom to do its job it will take care of us and help us to heal.


Sangeeta is a calming presence in a challenging, fraught world and a balm on the wounds of our grief. Having been visibly moved by discussing our shared experiences of grief, at the end of her talk Sangeeta placed her hand over her heart, a gesture of serenity and compassion. It felt like she had placed a hand over my heart and I too, for a time, felt tranquil and calm.

Shirley Gower 6 August 2020

Listen to Finding Meaning After Loss here

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


Sangeeta's talk on 5th August was the first of Compassionate Friends' evening talks inviting inspiring speakers to offer us their unique perspectives and reflections on parental and sibling loss. The next online event is on 2 September where you can join Maria Ahern in 'A Good Mourning' and here her talk honestly and with humour about her two constant companions, her son and her grief, and how the three of them walk side by side.

Comments: 3 (Add)

Beverley Johnson on 15 August 2020 at 11:55

I’ve just listened to the recording of Sangeeta’s talk. There was so much compassion and so much good advice in this. It is comforting and brings hope. I highly recommend listening. Many thanks, Sangeeta. Beverley

Nikki Williams on 11 August 2020 at 18:18

Very helpful, especially on the subject of dealing with guilt. Thank you Shirley for this.

Alison Bender on 6 August 2020 at 15:55

Yes the word that comes to mind when listening to Sangeeta is possibility. It feels more possible that our hearts might heal, that hope might return and a degree of acceptance develop. Thank you Sangeeta and TCF xx

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