Some 31 participants attended the event from all over the country, including couples who had lost a child and those who had lost a spouse, partner or parent. Although they were from different backgrounds with different stories, they all shared the common connection that they had lost someone to meningitis.
Participants met in a safe and supportive space in Market Bosworth for the residential event – one of the first we’ve been able to hold since the start of the pandemic – to share their experiences with others who understand, talk about their loved ones and explore grief, bereavement and its impact.
Our Support team, joined by our chief executive, Tom Nutt, was also there to run and facilitate sessions and explain further about the support we can offer.
Organiser, our support officer Christine Mather, said: “The weekend was a great success with many tears shed, new friends made and a lot of laughter too.
“The feedback we have received has been wonderful, which stands us in good stead for future Forever events - they are so very much needed by our bereaved families.
“We also had excellent support from our partners and friends at Compassionate Friends, and Widowed and Young, who both ran excellent sessions, as did our supporter Russ Fisher, who ran his first ‘Fathers grieve too’ session for dads.
Tom added: “I couldn’t help but be struck by the courage shown by people in attending. Several people said to me that they had no idea what to expect from this weekend, and yet all engaged in a level of mutual support, openness and understanding that was truly incredible.”
Wrapped your arms around us
Among the feedback we received, participants told us:
“Thank you so much to Meningitis Now for organising this wonderful event. I felt very nervous and anxious about attending this event, after losing my boy 21 years ago. It felt like we’d all been picked up by the lovely Meningitis Now staff and they’d wrapped their arms around us and we could all be ourselves in their care, it was just so lovely to be there with others that were going through the same as me. I actually didn’t want to come home and leave that safe environment, thank you so very much, lots of love xxxx"
“I just wanted to say thank you so much to all the team this weekend. I feel like I need to keep my grief in a cage to be able to support the rest of the family and this weekend you’ve helped me open the door for a moment and let some of those feelings escape. I’m very proud of X and how he handled this weekend too. He’s never opened up that much to anyone so that’s all thanks to you. We both felt safe letting go, so thank you all for making that comfortable xx"
“I had a great weekend, loved the craft, the time listening to Maria Ahern (Compassionate Friends) was inspirational, what a fantastic lady, I have been in touch with her just to say thank you and I have started reading her letters to her son. I particularly thought the group session where we split into groups was very good.”
We hope to hold further face-to-face Forever events in the future – to find out more about these and our wider support offering please visit our Get Support pages.