The first supportive overnight retreat for adult bereaved siblings was held last month in Birmingham. 25 siblings gathered together to spend time talking, socialising and sharing their stories with each other.
Emma, was one of the bereaved siblings who was also organising the weekend. She wrote: "Just spent a wonderful weekend with fellow siblings. It was so lovely to hear about everyone's special brothers or sisters. We took part in lots of different discussion groups, craft and creative writing groups. The memory candle jars we decorated were lit on the Saturday evening outside on a big tree. On Sunday some enjoyed going out on the lake in the boat. Thank you to everyone who attended for making it such a special weekend".
Other feedback from the weekend included:
"The biggest thing I took from the weekend - being in a safe place, surrounded by others who understand the grief you are going through and being able to identify with each other about the isolation and frustrations that grief brings.
While I found the weekend tough, as it really brought home that you have indeed lost someone (i’m quite good at denial) it was incredibly healing. The sessions were all extremely well thought out and relaxed. I was terrified about going but there was absolutely no need. The weekend really helped me on my way to acceptance and moving forwards, and I really really hope that i can come again"
"The retreat was incredible, though trying to say that to people who haven't lost a sibling is a bit tricky because they don't understand. And that is one of the things that made the weekend so okay; people understood. To be with people who experienced similar was just so supportive, and made me feel normal. There wasn't the pressure to not cry, or to cry, to talk about my brother or not talk about him, and I think the fact that the weekend was so open and optional and giving us the freedom to choose how to spend our time made it so much easier to talk. It was very cathartic, crying and talking and agreeing and empathizing. So although we spent a lot of time crying, it was very much needed. The location was also absolutely the perfect pick, I couldn't have imagined such a beautiful and peaceful setting".