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…………….

grief

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.

 

 

Carrying CAFOD partners in prayer – the Poor Clare community in Bulwell

It was great to welcome Niamh to the volunteer centre today. As well as making time to do some of her admin work we were able to visit the Poor Clare community next door. After I had taken the Sisters through the CAFOD Quiz, Niamh then spoke about her visit to our partners in Uganda earlier this year. 1
The Sisters were really receptive and engaging, asking lots of questions about the work of CAFOD; how can we get involved, they asked? Sr Juliana put it in such a lovely way; who can we tuck under our arm and carry in prayer. They have requested details of 17 of our CAFOD programmes, one for each Sister to ‘adopt’ and pray for.

St Anezka was really interested to hear about Niamh’s love of music and her going to study songwriting in September.  She called in afterwards to give Niamh a CD of one her favourite New Zealand singer/songwriters, Brooke Fraser. 20190408_121954

Apparently they are quite a musical community next door!

Be a Gap Year Volunteer with CAFOD

 

 

Ciara Hogan arriving in El Salvador

CAFOD Step into the Gap volunteer Ciara Hogan shares her experiences of arriving in El Salvador, meeting CAFOD’s partners and seeing inspiring, creative projects.

Ciara Hogan
Ciara Hogan is currently in El Salvador

Our first few days in Central America have been absolutely incredible. In the short time we’ve been here we have already experienced so many different people and places, each giving us so much to think about and reflect on.

One of those experiences was our visit to La Palma, a town in the mountains of El Salvador bordering Honduras. This was our first visit to a family since we arrived.

Prior to this visit we had been meeting partners in their offices so I was looking forward to seeing a family in their own home and hearing their stories. La Palma is a town famous for its crafts.

It is the home of El Salvador’s unique brightly coloured art that has become so famous around the world because of the Romero Cross. The streets are covered in bright paintings- even the lampposts are covered in art!

We were travelling to La Palma to meet Lazaro, an artist who creates all of the Romero crosses that are sold by CAFOD.

He oversees the production of each cross, from the carpentry to the varnishing done by his own grown-up daughters. I was particularly excited about this meeting as the cross that I have had since I was young, and that has travelled with me to university and now to the Briars is a Romero cross that was made in El Salvador.

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