Tamworth Seminar - 18th March 2017
Christine and I travelled up by train from Sydney and attended the one day seminar in Tamworth organised by the Tamworth Chapter Leader Karen Vial, along with support from local TCF members. Joy Rappo from the Sydney TCF office welcomed us and the 40+ members into the Frog and Toad function centre in the grounds of the Econo Lodge Tamworth. After the welcome and introduction from Karen and the reading of the Credo’s, Rev Jim Furze of the Uniting Church Manila/Barraba gave the opening blessing and spoke touchingly of the loss of his young child.
Doris Zagdanski, very popular presenter, was first up. Some readers will know her from previous seminars and gatherings. Her talk on - “The Elephant in the Room” gave us the knowledge that we are not alone and no one wants to talk about the loss of our child or sibling. She spoke about the levels of communication between us and our family/friends starting at the superficial cliché level through to stating the facts and ultimately the highest level where feelings are embraced. Doris gave some humorous examples of what people should not say to a bereaved parent at a funeral. Doris’s web site www.mygriefassist.com is an invaluable resource for excellent reading material, free factsheets and postcards on all aspects of grief.
After an excellent morning tea, Judy and Tony Fisher, Chapter Leaders from Parkes gave an emotional talk on their journey as a bereaved family. Their presentation gave us hope that things do get a little easier after being 15+ years after the loss of their son Nic. Their delightful daughter Carly Jayet made a video which was played for us. She spoke from a siblings point of view of the death of her young brother, of the Jigsaw of life and the lost pieces.
We then had a session where photos were placed on the floor and we all were able to choose one which represents an aspect of our grief. We went on to discuss our chosen photo in groups.
After a delicious lunch, the well respected Linda Campbell, Chapter Leader from the Northern Beaches and a retired Psychologist gave a talk on Living with Grief. Linda gave us a story of hope from her life experiences after the sudden death of her son as well as the reaction from her surviving sons dealing with their brothers death.
After the afternoon tea break Beverley Hobson gave us a talk on Mindfulness. She passed around strawberries and chocolates and asked us to choose one. She then took us through a mindfulness eating exercise where we had to eat the food slowly taking in the aroma and taste. She gave us many tips and tricks on being mindful. Valuable information in our confused state of mind.
All the presenters then came to the front for an informal Q and A. After closing speeches and gift presentations we ended what was an excellent day of compassionate harmony.
The evening concluded with dinner prepared by the Frog and Toad restaurant. My Slow roasted Lamb shanks and desert of fresh fruit Pavlova was delicious.
If you can make time in the future to attend one of these Seminars or Weekend Gatherings please do. You may find it initially confronting but you will meet people who you can talk to and they will talk to you at your level and you will come away knowing that ‘You are not alone’.
by Colin Kemp