Why am I here?
I decided it was about time I updated this page, so if you’ve been here before, this is different. That’s not all that is different… me too.
This blog started as something quite personal, but it has evolved into a site that I hope will be a helpful resource for those who are struggling with loss. It is personal too, because my own journey in the dark valleys of bereavement have guided me here, but I hope it also goes beyond my personal experience.
I am a doubly-bereaved mother. That means, both of my children died. Pax, aged 3, in 1982, of a genetic condition. Catherine, aged 30, in 2011, of mental illness.
After beautiful, clever, kind and witty but troubled Catherine died, I was left childless, utterly bereft, and hopeless. Writing was one of my therapies; words tumbled out onto the page. Sometimes poems; sometimes reflections; sometimes desperately reaching out for hope. I was in a dark place, and some of my journal writings were too dark to see the light of day. But as time passed, I found writing was helping me to cope with the agony of my grief, and that the content itself had glimmers of hope.
My book, “A Valley Journal”, came out of that. I can’t remember at what stage I felt that these writings, with some adjustments, could be useful for others, but once the idea took shape, it was another stage in my journey. Helping others is one way of saving my sanity, and finding a reason to keep breathing.
Eventually the book got published. I had the idea of calling it a journal, not because it was my own journal, but to help others write their own. To give ideas for reflection and perhaps finding your own way with words that would help in expressing grief.
After the book came the blog, and various articles I wrote were published here and there.
Then the blog grew, and I wanted to make it more of a resource. That led to the idea of leading retreats to support those who are struggling, which are the “Living with Loss” retreats that you can read about on the Retreats page.
Along the way, I noticed how often those who are grieving have a general idea of how they need to cope, but it is the comments and actions / inactions of others that make their grieving harder to bear. So that led to the idea of helping people understand grief better and improve the way they support those around them – and this is the “Grief Companion Training” which I write about on another website. It’s slowly taking shape.
And that brings me here to the end of 2017. Almost seven years have passed since my beautiful daughter Catherine passed from this life to the next. A lot of other things happened in the intervening years. Three years after Catherine died, my brother and mother both died within a month of each other. Then, one year after that, I discovered I had kidney cancer. There has been a lot of time for reflection and recovery. Fortunately my health has now improved and I am busier than I have been.
Going forward, I have a new and completely revised version of my book in the works. This will be called “Living with Loss” and will reflect a lot of what I have learned in the past years, including my experiences of running retreats, research and further training.
- I have another blog with light readings on a variety of Christian topics (not connected to bereavement). Click here
- You can also find out more about me on my personal website (opens new window)
- I’m keen to support others on their grief journey. Let me know if I can be a help.
- Your comments and feedback on this blog are very welcome!
Thank you for visiting this blog/website. I hope you find something that is useful for you.
(Page updated 7/12/17)
HARD COVER, COLOUR, ILLUSTRATED