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…………….


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.



News from out Step into the Gap volunteers, Ciara & Kayleigh

Maggie Mairura  Community Participation Coordinator for CAFOD in Nottingham Diocese signposting to updates from our ‘Gappers’!………..

Step into the Gap, CAFOD’s gap year programme, is an opportunity for young people to volunteer in the UK, gain experience, develop leadership skills and visit CAFOD partners and the communities we work with.


Kayleigh, Ciara and Maggie at the Briars September 2017 

So for us here in Nottingham Diocese that means we benefit as for the last few years we have had 2 ‘Gappers’ based at the Briars Retreat Centre in Crich.

Find out more and apply here for this September


So Ciara, following in Bishop Patrick’s recent footsteps is visiting our partners in El Salvador and Nicaragua, whilst Kayleigh, is in Sierra Leone.


Making Romero Crosses 

They are keeping in touch via blogs and instagram and tweets etc etc!  So here are some links to recent updates from them both……….. enjoy!

El Salvador

Sierra Leone


Ciara’s Nottingham Gap Year Adventure!

A Nottingham volunteer is dedicating a year to working alongside communities across the world by taking part in a gap year programme run by CAFOD.

Ciara Hogan

Ciara Hogan is a CAFOD gap year volunteer


Ciara Hogan is taking part in CAFOD’s ‘Step into the Gap’ programme after graduating from the London School of Economics where she studied politics and philosophy. 

The 21-year-old will spend the year campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness of CAFOD’s work at a placement in the Nottingham diocese.

Ciara will also make an international trip to meet vulnerable communities that the charity works alongside.

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