Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When you go through the loss of a baby or child you expect to go through many different emotions. 
I think that you expect to feel sad and angry and I also get that you can block it out almost denying it has happened. 
The one thing I didn’t expect to feel was anxious.

I associated anxiety with a feeling you get when you are waiting to take a test or waiting for your results. 

I never really understood the power of anxiety.

Now I totally understand where anxiety fits into grief, and how it can happen at any time after your loss and when you are least expecting it.

Anxiety is a crafty little bugger that can creep up on you, when you think you are doing ok, and slap you round the face.

It is also an emotion that anyone affected by grief or loss can experience and often men will say that they feel anxious rather than depressed.

The effects of anxiety are different for everyone and a symptom that I might experience may not be felt by someone else.

I have found that I get periods of time when I panic about anything and everything and get this feeling in my chest that something is about to go wrong. 
I can be driving along feeling totally fine when suddenly I feel my mouth going dry or I am clenching my teeth. 
Another day it can be a headache that just won’t go away or a stomach that won’t stop churning.

I can understand why people often think they are ill rather than suffering with anxiety as it gives you real physical symptoms, often going to the GP with lots of different ailments. 
It can often be misdiagnosed by GP’s as hypochondria, but if you have a good GP that will take the time to talk to you or find out your history then you can get the right support you need.

In today’s society there is a lot of talk about mindfulness and I will admit that I am a bit sceptical; however I am also of the thinking that if it helps someone then it has to be ok.
I think it is the word Mindfulness I find strange as when you look into it it has been around for years and has been called many different things e.g relaxation 

The one thing I do know is that if you are suffering from anxiety then you do need to get some support. 
That support can come in many ways and might just be a drink down the pub with a friend to attending a formal relaxation session.

Whatever you finds works for you is the right way forward for you.

We have a lot of families that come to us or contact us and after talking with them you can see that they too are struggling with anxiety as well as their grief. 
It can be totally debilitating for them and can lead to some even struggling to get out of their house. 
Some have described how they have been going about their everyday things, like shopping, and suddenly have had this overwhelming feeling of panic and have had to just leave everything and get out of the shop or have just stood there and started to cry inconsolably.

Just remember that whatever you are experiencing is totally ok and normal for someone going through a loss or bereavement. 

There is no time limit on it and you could find that it can suddenly affect you years down the line, this again is ok.

I would say to you if you are experiencing any of these feelings to please try and seek help even if it is not from your doctor. 

Give us a call or drop us a line as we are always here to support you. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Last weekend was such an amazing time for the charity.

On Friday I attended the National Diversity Awards at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. We had been nominated for an award in the Multi strand section and we were very proud to be shortlisted from 20,000 other deserving charities, people and companies.

It was an amazing evening with fantastic food and inspirational stories. We didn't win our category but I feel that we were all winners as everyone there does something to support others in their communities. It was great to meet with other organisations and I was able to make some new friends who have said they would like to support our charity.

Then Saturday evening was our first Autumn Charity Ball.

We all met up at the venue on Saturday morning, many of us feeling very nervous and anxious to get the day started.

We all got into the room and began to get it all sorted for the night. We put silks on the ceiling, dressed the tables and chairs and made beautiful decorations to hang from the ceiling. When it was all done it really looked amazing.

Despite the nerves the evening was a resounding success, everyone said what a wonderful evening they had.

The food was excellent and the entertainment was fantastic.

We raised £990 on the auction lots and in total with ticket sales we made £3070.

We cannot say thank you enough to everyone who helped us get the event up and running, the people that donated their time and services for free and for all the people who bought tickets and made it into a special evening.

During the evening we awarded our first Star Fundraiser awards which went to Charlies beautiful cousins, Rhiann & Amy, who over the last 3 years have raised £2000. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

On Sunday 11th September we went down to Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham to take part in the 'Comfort Event Day' organised and hosted by Penny and Richard from Comfort and a Hand of Friendship for those affected by Stillbirth.

Penny and Richard had experienced the loss of their little girl Lily Eloise born sleeping on 4th September 2014. 

There were other charities and keepsake stalls there, many which we follow on Facebook and Twitter. 
It was great to be able to put a face to the people we have chatted to and followed as they develop and grow.

Throughout the day there was plenty of time to just talk to other families that have been through the loss of a baby or child. This support, without worrying that you may upset someone by talking about your child, was really wonderful.

Penny and Richard had asked four of the charities attending to deliver a talk to the attendees during the afternoon.
Each one gave an account of why they set up their charity and what they have achieved so far. It was both emotional and inspiring to hear their stories.

There were different activities put on for people to honour their baby/child. 
From writing down your favourite saying, decorating a butterfly to commemorate their lives, sharing a poem you have found comforting or even a poem you had written about your experience.

Following a lovely lunch put on by the hotel there was an opportunity to go out into the gardens to have a Bubble Release for our angels. This was a really lovely thing to do and gave people another chance to talk and give each other support.

Towards the end of the day everyone came together to listen to some poems and for Penny and Richard to thank everyone for attending and making it such a successful day.
To finish the event there was the opportunity to light a candle in memory of your child and to have a couple of minutes for silent reflection.

We are so glad that we attended the event and really hope that they put on another one next year. 
There needs to be more opportunities like this for bereaved families to come together for support and friendship and for charities to come together to share what they do and see if there are other charities they could refer families onto. 

The more support that is out there for bereaved families the less difficult it is for them to work through their grief. No one should have to face it alone and by networking on the day we are now more aware of other services there are for us to recommend to clients.

Thank you to Penny and Richard for the massive task of organising the event and thank you to everyone we got to talk with on the day.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

When you are experiencing grief it can feel a very lonely place to be.
Loneliness has been described as having 2 sides - one described as being 'lonely' which is more of a negative feeling and 'solitude' which can be described as the glory of being alone.

When you find yourself going through grief you will probably experience both sides of being alone. The first thing you will probably feel is the overwhelming sense of missing your baby or child and the thought of all the things you have lost. You would give anything to have them back in your arms.Other times you might need the quiet of solitude to enable you to process everything that has happened. Getting away from others and the pressures of daily life can sometimes be helpful. You need time to be alone to reflect on what has happened and to come to terms with the feelings you are experiencing. This time can also be a time when you feel safe to let your tears flow and try and figure out how you can go on.

Today's society isn't comfortable with the subject of death and few of us know how to cope with the pain and grief. We don't encourage the free expression of sorrow, instead we learn to control our feelings and hide our pain from others. 

When you are a child you are taught that grief is a taboo subject and that feelings should be buried or done alone.

As an adult you may feel to embarrassed to let your emotions show in front of others which in turn can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Some are reluctant to turn to others for help and support as they don't want to be seen as a burden or because they are afraid that others won't know what to do with your feelings.

Other people you know may be done with their grieving long before you and can expect you to be 'over it by now' or are worried that you are 'holding onto your grief'. 
This can sometimes lead to others avoiding you or avoiding talking about your loss which in itself can enhance your feeling of loneliness.

We set up our charity to try and help grieving families to find support and help when they are feeling lonely and in need of a friendly shoulder. We know how difficult it can be at times just getting through the day and that there are times when you just do not feel up to seeing another human being. That's why we decided to offer telephone and email support as some days you do not want to have to face someone but you can type a message or pick up a phone. 

Recently we were approached by a lady, Teresa Mack, who has recently undergone training in the 'Grief Recovery Method' and would like to offer an 8 week course to anyone who is experiencing a loss or bereavement.

The course will be free of charge and the only commitment needed is to turn up for the 8 sessions. The sessions would be held during the evening and would probably be from 7 - 9 pm at St Georges Centre, Middleton, Leeds. The day will be confirmed once there are enough people signed up to take part.

Teresa herself has experienced loss and wants to be able to help others deal with their grief/loss.

If you think that this is something you would be interested in attending please get in touch with us via email - or website