Hello, my name is Karin, and I’m a parent to three children. Our lives were changed forever in August 2010 when my husband Campbell suffered a massive heart attack and died. Our world was in turmoil.
Just the day before we’d gone on a happy family outing, as my son Mark had returned from Australia, we all watched Janey doing watersports on Roadford Lake, and had a family picnic together. We were glad to be re-united as a family, and finished the day with a celebratory meal.
The next day, only hours after such a happy family re-union and Mark’s return to the family, the laughter turned to tears, and the hope, to shock and sheer devastation that my husband and father to my children had died.
Life was shaken to the core. I wondered how in my numb state I was going to tell our youngest child, Janey. My son Mark, collapsed in my arms, at the news, how was I going to get through such a tragedy?
Our family found it difficult to talk about the death, not knowing what was right or wrong to say. Death brings shock, distress, anguish, a pain that you think will never end. With three children, I needed to stabilise my life, find answers, support and try to deal with the situation.
My daughter Janey says that at this time she became ‘’locked in to her sadness’’. I had to find a way to help her, help us all to cope. I felt my world had stopped, but the world was rushing on by, I felt alone and it upset Janey if she saw me cry, so I hid those emotions to save her more distress.
I found out about Families in Grief (FiG) in 2011, when I noticed a leaflet in Janey’s school reception. That leaflet was to open the doors to us, enable us to cope again.
We joined the FiG group, not knowing what to expect. We met weekly with others who had gone through similar bereavement, we were able to sit and talk, share and discuss how we felt individually. I know Janey and I began to feel we were no longer alone. ‘’A trouble shared, is indeed a troubled spared’’.
The group meetings created a safe zone, there was respect, warmth, understanding which gave us the chance to pick up the pieces and understand how to deal with our grief. FIG was our safe haven, to express inner feelings, to talk openly about the person we had lost. Listening to others opening their hearts, allowing tears to fall, but ultimately, feeling safe and cared about, within the group. The sharing of personal stories, showing an treasured possession of person we had lost, opening up our hearts to others, sharing and caring, gave us strength and courage.
At home, we started to talk. Janey started to talk about her Dad with me, and her friends, if we shed a tear, we did so together, we knew this was normal, part of the healing process, no longer were we locked in grief, we were dealing with it, and working things through with a greater understanding.
We were able to meet up with the other families several months after the final group session, it was clear how much stronger, and more able to deal with life the group had become. The bowling session enabled us to catch up with one another and see the smiles restored.
I personally thank all who made FIG possible for Janey and I to attend, it is vital that FIG continues to thrive and offer families the help and support they desperately need in times of grief.