How to build your support system

Our support system is put to the ultimate test when someone close to us dies. Whether they are old or young, whether the loss is expected or sudden, through illness or accident, loss can leave us feeling isolated and alone.

Even if we have a good support system in the form of family or a loving partner, each person faces up to this challenge in very different ways, so even if you have someone close you still may feel alone.

In my case I really am alone. When Toby died my Dad was still alive, but we never enjoyed a really close relationship and I think he was angry with Toby for causing me such distress. He could never understand that Toby was ill, and just blamed him for my grief.

The very first night that I endured after the policeman had left, then my friend left, then my Dad went back to bed, I reached out to the internet. In those early days my iPad became my lifeline and I trawled the internet looking for information and support.

I finally came across a website where I found a community of other mothers who had lost a child, some to suicide, some to cancer, some to traffic accidents.

It was only here that I could pour out all my deepest darkest thoughts and fears, and found that others would reply and comment and send me on-line hugs and it was then that I realised I was not alone in this grief and there were hundreds and thousands of other parents out there who knew my pain, had walked my road and could offer support and friendship.

When your child dies you become a member of a club that you never would have chosen to join, but in that club you will find kindness and love from total strangers just because you are now a member of this club.

The website I found is called ‘Daily Strength’ and most of the members are from the US. They are having a retreat in July where all the Mums that have met on line, can meet in person.

So I had an idea, what if I could set up a new support forum for parents who live in the UK and who have lost a child to suicide. Of course I wouldn’t exclude anyone who lived outside the UK, but I thought it would be good if I could find a support network closer to home with a view to then running a retreat in the UK.

So from that germ of an idea I have set up a new forum. You can find it here or from the menu on the home page.

I hope that parents affected by this most tragic of losses can connect with each other safe in the knowledge that no-one will judge or condemn then for any thoughts or feelings that they have. Safe in the knowledge that everyone in the forum will understand and empathise. I hope we will support each other, share inspirational stories and provide a shoulder to lean on in difficult times.

Once we have all got to know each other on-line, we can meet up and share our journey to recovery and healing, because this is the ultimate goal.

Not to be stuck forever in our grief, but to find ways to heal, recover and rebuild our lives as our children would not want our lives to end too.

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