Why raise money on this pilgrimage? My main motive for walking is for peace and in remembrance of my two children. Raising money for charity is a bonus. My walking partner Margaret has agreed that The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is a great charity to support. Here’s why.
My little son Pax died at the age of 3 while that I was living and working in India in 1982. I had virtually no support of any kind following his death – I really didn’t know how to cope with it so I suppressed my grief. This is a story I’ve told elsewhere ( see here if you want to know more.).
My remaining child Catherine, a beautiful witty young woman, died on 13th April 2011. She had suffered for more than 10 years from mental illness and took her own life. To say I was out of my mind with grief is not an understatement. All of my suppressed grief about Pax also now came to the fore. I was overwhelmed.
One day during the traumatic weeks after Catherine’s death, I was sitting at my computer, wandering through the internet, seeking some clues as to how I was going to survive. And that’s when I came across TCF.
I joined the private internet forum that TCF runs. Here I discovered that I was not as alone as I thought I was. There were other parents, other mothers, who had also experienced the throes of agony at the loss of a child or more than one child. I could go on the forum at any time of the day and night and find solidarity.
The companionship I found on the forum was later replicated in person as I met TCF members and attended support days.
It wasn’t that my interaction with other bereaved parents could help me make sense of my children’s deaths, but it did help me make sense of my grief. I saw that the turmoil of thoughts and feelings was not abnormal, and accepting this helped as I leaned into my grief and was carried by its waves.
There were other things going on in my life, other forms of support, and TCF was part of the picture, not the whole picture. But certainly TCF is one of the reasons I am here today.
I am still involved with TCF, helping to write and edit their information leaflets and leading the team of volunteers who work on this. It’s very rewarding to be able to use my skills for something that helps other people, which again is one of the features of TCF – helping parents find meaning in their lives through supporting others who are similarly bereaved.
My story is just one example of why TCF is a worthwhile charity to support, I hope if you are able, you will donate. Thank you!
Find out more about The Compassionate Friends: http://www.tcf.org.uk
Cover picture: Bluetits picture I created from felt. Felting is a craft activity I first discovered at a weekend organised by some TCF mothers.