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Upright With Knickers On

On the evening of 15 March 2021 The Compassionate Friends hosted a unique online event showcasing the very best of peer support from The Compassionate Friends. Three bereaved mums - Kelly, Anne and Jill; three dads - Terry, Andrew and Graham; and a bereaved sibling - Rachael, spoke movingly and with huge courage and honesty about what has helped them survive and find meaning and hope again after the death of their child or sibling.

The event was based around Gina Claye's book, Upright with Knickers On: Surviving the Death of a Child. Gina is a bereaved mum of two children and a Compassionate Friends trustee and volunteer. In the book she shares with us through prose and verse how she has survived her losses. The book also provides an opportunity for other bereaved parents and siblings to share the variety of ways in which they have approached their grief and learned to survive the loss of their beloved child or sibling and particularly, how they have found meaning, purpose and hope again. At this online event, our seven contributors to Gina's book shared with us something of what they wrote at that time and then reflected on how they feel now about what they wrote then and whether their grief has stayed the same or has changed. Each shared what has helped them to get through, to survive and to go on in a positive, meaningful way.

Upright With Knickers On - Surviving the Death of a Child and Don't Let Them Tell You How To Grieve both by Gina Claye are available to buy and can also be borrowed from the TCF library. Contact library@tcf.org.uk.

"This evening...was so inspiring. It really was TCF at its best - bereaved parents and siblings sharing honestly the way their grief had affected them and how, with TCF help they have found ways of living with their loss. All the speakers were brilliant, and all had a different experience but a similar pattern of grief - and all had survived and were able to offer their words of comfort and hope. (Our) immediate reaction was that "professionals" could learn a great deal from that hour and a half. The empathy, love, and concern that was so evident will have surely lifted all who watched and will have given so much hope to those who continue to feel in despair. Adrian & Carol

TCF member, Nicki,also reviewed the evening for us:

Thankyou TCF for organising this amazing event via Zoom. There were over 200 people on the call which sounds a bit much in a way but certainly was not. The event worked like a dream. Each of the speakers spoke movingly about their own experiences and contributions to the book. Gina held it all together in her own quiet way. Audience members made extensive and respectful use of the chat and Carolyn facilitated a sensitive Q&A.

These events are so important during lockdown. Personally I am missing my Thursday afternoons with TCF friends. Being together virtually is the next best thing and any contact with other bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings reminds us that we are not alone.

I am so looking forward to reading Gina's second book .The title in itself makes me realise that we are actually all superheroes whether we wear our knickers, or indeed boxers, on the inside or the outside of our tights.

Thankyou so much TCF for keeping going in these hard times. We need you.

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