Compassion helps relieve grief

VALDA and Gail still feel the presence of their children.
Nanjing Night Net

It is an overwhelming pain, but what eases the hurt is a support network that the mothers never knew existed — a group of strangers going through the same thing.

Valda and Gail are in a self-help group for parents who have lost a child.

Compassionate Friends encourages people to chat about their experiences and help each other deal with grief.

Valda, of Engadine, started the St George and Sutherland Shire group, the Miranda Chapter, after her daughter drowned 23 years ago.

“Jean was working as a volunteer teacher at a school in Tonga,” Valda said.

“She went out on a windsurfer, then we got a call that she was missing.

“We flew up, there was search, but she was never found. Only the sail from her board was seen on an island.

“There were four-metre swells, she tried to paddle ashore, but didn’t . . .”

Valda discovered Compassionate Friends at her daughter’s memorial service.

“When you say you understand, you really do understand each other,” she said.

“We have parents — mostly mothers — whose children have died from an accident, illness, murder, suicide, drugs, stillbirth and miscarriage.”

Valda has three other children.

“My family has been a wonderful support, but people don’t grieve at the same time,” she said.

“Joy has come into my life with great-grandchildren but if someone asks how many children I’ve got, I still say four.

“The pain eases like a scab that heals, then comes off, but there’s always a shadow.”

Gail’s son, 16, was killed seven years ago when he fell off the Como Bridge.

“He snuck off to a party,” Gail, of Sans Souci, said.

“We are not really sure what happened, but it was an accident.

“Counselling was a great help but after that I thought, what’s next?

“That’s when Valda took me under her wing.

“It was just what I needed because sometimes it was difficult to talk to my family.

“They were going through the same thing, and I didn’t want to upset them.

“Your relationships become affected, people you know cross the road.”

She said the group was a life-saver.

“When you lose a child, you think about topping yourself,” she said.

“In the first two years, you’re brain dead, numb.

“But if you see that someone has gotten through it, it gives you a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s when you can go to scream, chat, cry or laugh with people.

“It’s not for everybody but it saved me, and I’ve made the most wonderful friends.”

Parents meet at Calvary Hospital, Kogarah, and also organise social events.

Details: thecompassionatefriends南京夜网.au or Valda, 9520 4921 or Gail, 9593 4611.

Posted by at 24/04/2018
Filed in category: 南京夜网论坛,

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