Brilliant sets from Rob Delaney, Heidi Regan and Ivo Graham as well as the hilarious compere John Robins made SLOW’s first-ever comedy fundraiser a roaring sell out success.
We raised over £1,400 on the night – cash which will enable SLOW to set up a new weekly group in North London.
Big, big thanks to Rob Delaney, and all the other comedians that volunteered their time for free. And the biggest thanks goes to our volunteer, Kat Roberts, who organised the whole night for SLOW. Thank you so much Kat!
And… if you have a fundraising idea for SLOW please do get in touch with Kelly Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll do all we can to help you with your plans.
Mother’s Day can be particularly painful if you have lost a child and even more so if you have lost your only child.
This article from the amazing blog ‘What’s Your Grief’ was written two years ago but it’s definitely worth revisiting on this difficult day.
‘What’s Your Grief?’ asked their readers to help them write a post in anticipation of Mother’s Day and together nearly 100 bereaved parents offered their thoughts. Their collective wisdom was compiled to write a heartfelt letter to bereaved mothers. Here are some beautiful insights:-
It is excruciating knowing that my child will never return to my arms. However, a mother’s love for her child doesn’t require physical presence.
I actually am normal. I’m just different now. I believe those who say they want to support me on difficult days like Mother’s Day, but part of this is accepting me as a grieving mother who will always love her deceased child.
On the one hand, I feel immense joy because I was blessed with my child and I feel gratitude for every moment I was given with them. On the other hand, the pain of missing my child – my greatest happiness, my life’s purpose, and my best friend – is intense.
This day will forever be hard for me. I live with an emptiness that no one can fill; so I may be sad, I may be unsociable, and I may need to take a break to be by myself in a quiet place. Whatever shape my grief takes on this day, please allow me to feel the way I feel and please follow my lead.
I can sense that people feel uncomfortable talking about my child and I constantly feel like the elephant in the room, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Honestly, I find it really comforting when someone talks about my child.
Be kind to yourself on Mother’s Day and if you need support the SLOW groups are open to all that have lost a child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
SLOW is actively looking to recruit a facilitator to move the organisation to its next level.
The job description for the new role is detailed below. Should you wish to apply please send your CV and a covering letter of no more than two A4 pages describing your interest in, and suitability for, this role to email@example.com. The deadline for applications is Friday 26th April 2019
Support Group facilitator
SLOW, a charity supporting bereaved families, is actively looking to recruit a Facilitator to move the organisation to its next level
Based in London, SLOW has offered emotional and practical support to bereaved families that have lost a child in any circumstances for over eleven years. Our unique approach to working with parents and siblings is highly regarded by our members and professionals and we have recently won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Our work is centred around regular support groups for bereaved parents and quarterly creative workshops for bereaved siblings. Since SLOW began we have drawn on our own experience as bereaved parents and built a community that supports itself.
SLOW currently runs weekly daytime support groups in North and South London, as well as monthly evening support groups in North London. Our North London (Islington) support group is currently thriving and therefore due to demand we are planning to open another weekly daytime group in this area.
Purpose of role
To co-facilitate an existing weekly support group for bereaved parents and to assist with the setting up and the ongoing facilitation of a further weekly support group. Both groups will be based in North London. You will also communicate with bereaved parent members outside of the groups, attend supervision and meetings. This is a self-employed, sessional role that will require travel to support group venue(s) and work from home.
This role will require attendance at our support group venue(s) in North London. Other duties will be carried out at home – the facilitator must have access to a computer and telephone. SLOW will pay direct expenses relating to the role (e.g. telephone, broadband, and stationery charges) and travel where agreed.
Ten hours per week during school term time (39 weeks per year) @ approximately £20 per hour with the potential for more hours.
SLOW is looking for an exceptional individual for this exciting role to:
- Work with the founder, business development manager and trustees to help develop and deliver the vision and strategies of SLOW
- Set up and facilitate a new weekly daytime support group in North London (exact location and day / time to be confirmed)
- To co-facilitate the existing daytime weekly support group in Islington on Wednesdays (11am – 12.30pm)
- Attend debrief sessions, clinical supervision and write reports on group meetings
- Provide direction to volunteers as required
- Correspond with bereaved parents by telephone and email to guide them into the groups or signpost them to other services
- Attend networking meetings and presentations of SLOW work as necessary
- Attend regular team meetings
- A bereaved parent of at least 3 years, please note that this is essential for the role.
- Group facilitation experience in a formal setting – i.e. health, self-help, well- being etc.
- Commitment to SLOW’s open and reflective way of working with parents, embodying a kind and compassionate stance
- Excellent listening skills
- Good telephone, IT and communication skills
- Personal experience as a participantattending an organised support / self-help experiential group – e.g. bereavement support group, group facilitation training, church group, etc.
- An interest in the principles, literature and experiences of grieving for a child or sibling and a commitment to exploring how this can be used to help bereaved parents and families
Please apply by sending a CV and covering letter of no more than two A4 pages describing your interest in, and suitability for, this role to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for applications is COB Friday 26th April 2019
One of the best pieces of advice I received from the SLOW group when I was in the deep, dark, depths of grief after my daughter died was… to be kind to myself. For me, being told that it was ok not to be at the coalface of grief all the time was really helpful. Grieving a lost child is hard, hard work so giving yourself a few minutes of respite from the pain is sometimes the only way to get through a day. And… the grief was always there again at the end of my distracting task…
This article from the fantastic blog ‘What’s Your Grief?’ gives seven helpful tips on how to practice self-kindness. Here’s some snippets:-
1. Don’t compare
Try not to compare yourself to your expectations. In fact, it can be helpful to let go of your expectations about grief entirely.
2. Accept that a wide range of emotional, physical, and cognitive experiences are normal in grief
Having a narrow conceptualization of what is normal in grief often causes people to feel like they’re not doing as well as they ought to or, worse, like they’re completely losing it.
3. Give distressing emotions and experiences the time and attention they need
The only thing that would help is to acknowledge the pain and find ways to take care of yourself and heal.
4. Ask for help
You’ve experienced a major hardship and now is the time for you to let others take care of you.
5. Focus on basic needs
If you are able to meet some of your most basic needs, you’ll be in a better position physically and emotionally to deal with your other more complex and nuanced stressors.
6. Give yourself a break
While many people think coping with life after loss is only about confronting and coping with difficult grief emotions, we believe that coping encapsulates anything that helps you feel better and gives you a boost of positive emotion
7. Love the person who died unapologetically
What we know about grief is that an ongoing love and attachment is totally normal! So, go ahead and talk about your loved one as much as you want, do all the little things that keep you close, and, by all means, love them apologetically.
The SLOW support groups give our bereaved parents a chance to talk to other parents that have been through the devastating loss of a child. The groups are open to all that have lost a child and parents can come at any time after the death of their child. For times and dates of forthcoming SLOW support groups link here.
For those of you ‘further on’ this blog entry from Rebecca Goss touchingly encapsulates the imperceptible shifts of grief that bereaved parents feel and the elasticity of time when we think about our lost sons and daughters.
5th August 2008 – 2018
Ten years is too long, a fear that to others she may be fading
Ten years is her imagined height, and length of hair; the clothes she would be wearing this summer
Ten years is as an overwhelming bout of crying, when returning to the hospital to plant a flower
Ten years is like digging in the ground
Ten years is driving away from a commemorative rose and fretting it will die
Ten years is sometimes not thinking about her
Ten years is understanding that
Ten years is the time it’s taken to include her when asked how many children I have
Ten years is not a shameful secret
Ten years is her first sleep suit still under my pillow
Ten years is two books, a baby, a new house, another dog
Ten years is not feeling her let go of my hand or take hold of it again
Ten years is tomorrow
You can find Rebecca’s website and the full blog entry here.
Many of our members may know of the Rebecca Goss book ‘Her Birth’ from our SLOW library and many more have bought copies for themselves.
It’s a beautifully moving collection of poems about her daughter Ella who died at 18 months that has really resonated with our members. The book won, and was shortlisted for, many literary prizes and you can read a review of it here.
At our SLOW groups in both Islington and Streatham Hill we provide a library of bereavement books that members are free to borrow. Our groups are available for bereaved parents at any time after the death of their child. For more information on our forthcoming groups click here.