Reflection by Natasha Mills – bereaved mother of Leroy
I was very skeptical about attending the Bereaved Parents’ Weekend when I first heard about it. My initial reaction was “no way, that’s not for me”. A year or more later the opportunity popped up again and my husband and I found out a bit more about the weekend and decided to go.
I am so glad we went. Attending the Bereaved Parents’ Weekend has been one of the most powerful, healing and nurturing things I have done since our beloved son Leroy died in 2012. The space Very Special Kids create for parents is incredibly safe and supportive. It’s hard to put into words, the love, respect and support, that parents give to one another during the weekend.
Some parents talk and share a lot, some parents talk very little, but there is never any pressure to talk. Everyone is respected, listened to and honoured. Meeting and getting to know other bereaved parents (and their children) is very humbling and a deeply moving experience. Grief can be a lonely isolating road to navigate and both my husband and I really appreciated being in this space with other people who just ‘get it’.
One of the things I really love about the weekend, is that we have time – our conversations are not rushed. During the weekend we have time to talk about our children, to acknowledge our feelings, to let deep emotions, thoughts and memories rise to the surface, in a totally safe and supported environment. There are no interruptions or jobs to do, no tasks or responsibilities of everyday life to distract us.
There is also time for reflection, healing and fun. I really enjoy the workshops and art therapy offered during the weekends, as well as the massage and yoga session. There are lots of opportunities for casual conversations over meals, as well as free time to spend walking, on your own, or with others. VSK seem to always create a perfect mix of structured and casual activities during the weekend.
I have been to several weekends with my husband and on my own and I have found each weekend to be very healing, nourishing and rejuvenating experience, where I feel totally nurtured and taken care of. I cannot thank VSK and its staff and volunteers enough, for the absolute gift of the Bereaved Parents’ Weekend.
Pictured are parents who attended the Bereaved Parents’ Weekend, with photos and mementos of their children.