Comfort in grief; a personal experience

My granddaughter Leila (7) was staying over at the weekend and on our way to the cinema to see Aladdin she was talking about birthdays and how her birthday is next.  I corrected her and said Uncle Zachary is soon and then it would be Aunty Anna’s etc etc…………………….

So she asks has Aunty Anna got a grave, as she would like to put flowers for her on her birthday. So I said no.  Oh, so she is ashes then?  Where are they? she asks.   At my house, I said.    No further discussion.  She is quiet. Then a minute later she said,  I wish it wouldn’t be Mother’s Day for another 2 years.  Why, I asked.  Because you were so sad on Mother’s Day…………….

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Leila with Aunty Anna, Mum

Since the death of my Mum in 2017 and more recently my daughter Anna in November last year, the experiences of journeying  through an expected death and a sudden loss have been challenging in so many ways.  Mum had her funeral planned; who was going to do what, what she was going to wear, hymns, readings etc.  With Anna we were shell shocked and the bureaucracy of death and  planning to bring her home from Edinburgh where she lived; they were tasks to focus on, delaying our real grief till after the funeral.

And so recently, because of my own personal experience, I have been sharing about CAFOD’s award winning project from 2015, that illustrates how no one is beyond reach of  our support; through prayer, through fundraising, through compassion, through partnership, through love.

 Safe & Dignified Burials in Sierra Leone

The BOND Humanitarian Award recognised the courageous service of the more than 800 burial workers who served with SMART, a UK government-funded consortium comprising of World Vision, CAFOD, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Together the three agencies trained and equipped burial workers to conduct Safe and Dignified burials for Ebola victims across Sierra Leone. 

sierra leoneWe continue to work with our partners in Sierra Leone and last year our Gap Year volunteers visited there.  Life goes on.

As hard as it was and continues to be, we were able to plan and organise for Mum and Anna’s funerals, gathering family and friends to mourn and celebrate their lives with us; something perhaps we take for granted.

 

 

East Leake Catholic Women’s League host CAFOD evening

Thanks to the CWL of Our Lady of the Angels in East Leake for hosting a lovely evening last Thursday 22/2/18.   Even before I had left for the Philippines in June last year, Ann Sharpe had invited me to come and talk to them about it!

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CAFOD supporters from East Leake, West Bridgford and Loughborough

They very generously opened the invitation to other local parishes and a posse from the CAFOD group of Holy Spirit West Bridgford joined us along with a couple of visitors from Loughborough.  About 20 people were there to hear about this year’s Family Fast Day.

 

It was also an opportunity for Tom Beall, our CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator to introduce himself. tom beall

Tom is also a CAFOD Climate Champion and volunteers with the National Trust at the Workhouse in Southwell , both organisations being part of the Climate Coalition .

Tom as Climate Champion

And so to my trip to the Philippines and sharing my experience of visiting and working with our partners NASSA/Caritas Philippines.  It was lovely to recount my visit to Batangas, a village in Sorsogon Diocese who were beneficiaries of CAFOD donations following Typhoon Melor in 2015.  New homes and new livelihoods were provided to families and as part of building resilience and sustainable livelihoods those who had received a pig then ‘passed on the gift’ when it had its first litter, giving a piglet to a neighbour.

Introducing our volunteers to Rosemarie, Conception, Anna and Medina

Introducing our volunteers to Rosemarie, Conception, Anna and Medina, Philippines July 2017

My favourite encounter was with a group of women from the village, who are part of the local committee and who were delighted to be introduced to some Nottingham Diocese volunteers in the photos I had taken with me.

 

Then of course, the case of the famous pig who became the star of one of our School Assemblies.  David Brinn, our national  schools volunteer programme coordinator, who travelled with me, on his return wrote a primary assembly based on our emergency work, using the story of the three pigs!   pig

Be a school volunteer and deliver this assembly?

Catherine, one of the visitors from West Bridgford said:  “it was a very interesting talk & my knowledge of the geography of the Philippines has certainly improved!  You got a very good attendance and it was good to meet Tom – a very impressive young man.”

 

Jam-Packed Quiz In Aid of Emergency Rohingya Appeal

There was an evening of fun entertainment in West Bridgford for a jam-packed quiz night in aid of suffering communities from across the world.

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The quiz was in aid of the Rohingya emergency appeal

Teams of six people had to solve maths conundrums, pictogram questions and more. There was even a round where every answer included the name Boris.

The annual quiz night raised over £400 for CAFOD’s emergency Rohingya appeal.

More than half a million people, mostly Rohingya women and children, are now estimated to have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in the Rakhine State area of Myanmar.

Around 60 people attended the charity evening at Holy Spirit Church parish hall on Saturday October 7.

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