Sunday, 27 September 2015

The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them when you’re grieving. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier to carry. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and DO NOT GRIEVE ALONE. Connecting to others will help you heal.
  • Turn to friends and family members – Now is the time to lean on the people who care about you, even if you take pride in being strong and self-sufficient. Draw loved ones close, rather than avoiding them, and accept the assistance that’s offered. Often, people want to help but don’t know how, so tell them what you need—whether it’s a shoulder to cry on or help with funeral arrangements.
  • Draw comfort from your faith – If you follow a religious tradition, embrace the comfort its mourning rituals can provide. Spiritual activities that are meaningful to you—such as praying, meditating, or going to church—can offer solace. If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.
  • Join a support group – Grief can feel very lonely, even when you have loved ones around. Sharing your sorrow with others who have experienced similar losses can help. 
  • Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – An experienced therapist can help you work through intense emotions and overcome obstacles to your grieving.
When you’re grieving, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.
  • Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you can’t avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
  • Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Write about your loss in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a letter saying the things you never got to say; make a scrapbook or photo album celebrating the person’s life; or get involved in a cause or organization that was important to him or her.
  • Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel good physically, you’ll also feel better emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief or lift your mood artificially.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell at the heavens, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
  • Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for an emotional wallop, and know that it’s completely normal. If you’re sharing a holiday or life event with other relatives, talk to them ahead of time about their expectations and agree on strategies to honor the person you loved.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Another absolutely amazing week for us. Things just seem to be going from strength to strength.

This week saw us having another meeting with one of the bosses at St James's hospital to confirm that we will be working in association with the bereavement services within the 2 hospitals. 

Two of the bereavement team came along to our Community Support meeting this Thursday to speak with other families to find out their experiences and anything they felt could be improved. We all felt that the meeting went well and the Bereavement Liaison Officer (Sharon Mobbs) said that it had given her lots of  things to think about and work on.

We also had one of our counselors turn up to the meeting to offer her support and expertise. I think as times go by our counselors will become quite busy. Helping other families has always been one of our main aims and it feels like this is really starting to happen now. 

We also feel that we are one step further to getting an office to work out of, we cant say too much at the moment but we are feeling quite positive. We will update you as we find out more.

There should also be an update about all the changes on Radio Aire very soon. Bethan Davies, from Radio Aire, has always given us so much support and yet again she wants us to go in to update her on everything that has been happening. 

This week also saw our petition reach the 1000 signature mark. It is wonderful to think that so many people have taken their time to sign and share our petition. We have always felt that the more signatures we get the closer we get to improving care and support for families across the UK.

Charlie has truly made a huge impact on the future provisions of bereavement support and will continue to do so for many years to come.

We feel so honoured to have had him come in to our lives and know that his name will be know far and wide.

Charlie Arthur Curtis, a very special little boy.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

The last 48 hours have been absolutely amazing for Charlies Angel Centre. 

Over the last 2 and a half years we have worked so hard to get changes made to the bereavement support currently offered or not offered in many cases. 

At times we have felt like we were hitting our heads against a brick wall and thought that we would never get to where we wanted to be. 

However, we never once thought of giving up. Throughout it all Charlie has been our inspiration and given us the drive to carry on even when we felt it was too hard.

The last 48 hours have shown us that all our campaigning and fund raising has not gone unnoticed.

Yesterday we met with Sharon Mobbs (Bereavement Liaison Officer) from the Bereavement Liaison Services based within St James's Hospital, Leeds.

It is with great delight that we can inform you that we are now working along side the team to provide vital support for the bereaved parents and families of Leeds.

This will mean that Charlies Angel Centre will now be given as an option to families leaving hospital following the loss of their baby.
Our leaflets will be distributed throughout the hospitals and GP services across Leeds and our posters will also be on display signposting families to our various support services.

One of our community support meetings will be attended by the Bereavement Liaison Officer for her to find out what families experiences have been to determine where changes need o be made.

Our second piece of good news is that we have been able to secure the services of 4 qualified counselors to provide counselling free of charge to parents and families (if meet eligibility criteria)through our centre. There will also be opportunities for families to access reduced rate counselling if they are not eligible for the free sessions.
We are hoping that we will be able to secure further counselors in the future  to enhance the current support available.

One of our counselors will also be attending our fortnightly community support meetings to offer their support and expertise.

As you can imagine we are thrilled with these additions to our current service of support and hope that our services keep growing from strength to strength.

Thank you all for your continued support, it means so much to us to know that we have such loyal and amazing members. We hope that you stay with us as we keep growing and making changes to the face of bereavement support across the UK.

Friday, 4 September 2015

There is a lot of publicity at the moment around the current story line in Eastenders.

It is good to see that a main stream programme is tackling this subject and highlighting the effects it has on a family.

I have watched all of the episodes and think that they have done a really good job of showing the emotional turmoil stillbirth and neonatal loss causes.

At times I have found it very hard to watch and have sat here with tears streaming down my face. 
The actors made it feel so real that I felt pain for them but it also made me re live the events leading up to and immediately after Charlies death.

During the episode where it showed the grandfather breaking down and explaining how he felt, my husband, and Charlies grandad found it all to much and took himself and the dog out into the garden.

I am glad that the show producers researched the subject and took advice from charities that work with families after a loss.

The story line continues to unfold and it will be interesting to see how they show the follow up care the family receives. 

If they are to reflect the true picture of care that we and many hundreds of families have encountered then it will show the low level of support that is truly out there.

I'm sure that the show will be looking at in a more positive way, regarding the support, as this isn't real life and it doesn't make such a good story.

Unfortunately we know that this isn't the true picture.

This programme has been very good in bringing this tricky subject to the fore front and this can only be a good thing. People  
need to realise that it is ok to talk about baby loss and that the families going through it need support and friendship.

The actress portraying Shabnam  has done an excellent job of portraying a mum going through a stillbirth and she is also helping to highlight the topic by going on Twitter and starting #saytheirname, where families can go and share the names of their babies they have lost.

Our aim is to be able to help as many families as possible and through this story line the subject of baby death will become less of a taboo subject 

The charity was set up to help other families going through a loss and at the moment things seem to be really happening for us. As and when we get more news we will keep you informed