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News SOULS

Creative Crochet fun

Our unit was full of love and laughter at our February SOULS group. It was lovely to welcome new members to the group and they very quickly settled in and became part of our ‘family’.

We challenged ourselves to learn how to crochet and out of all the different sessions we have held this is the one where we laughed the most – and that’s so important at our group.

Laughing and feeling joy for however brief a moment is something many grieving parents feel guilty about, how can we laugh and smile when we have lost a precious child?

Our groups offer a safe, caring environment for bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings to come and share thoughts and feelings without any judgement at all.

Please get in touch if you would like to join us or know someone that would benefit from coming along – 07555 541987.

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News SOULS

Seeds for the SOULS

Our monthly support group met last Sunday (21st Jan), for our first get together of the year. We were joined by several new parents alongside Natalie who is the Lead Nurse in Bereavement and Tissue Donation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals in Preston.

Natalie joined us to get an insight into the work we do and to take the opportunity to speak with families who were with us, in order to gain a greater understanding of our support group and the difference we make.

Natalie told me “the unit is lovely, a bright welcoming environment and I can see how people who make the difficult first step to attend are instantly made at ease by the environment and of course yourself. The idea of the activities works so well. Observing people supporting each other first in the task then developing to the emotional support they needed was an honour to witness first hand”.

Spring Bulbs was the theme for our activities, we decorated pots and planted beautiful hyacinth’s, daffodils and lots more. It was a lovely few hours spent with people who you just know understand you, and as one mum said as she left with her pot, “there was a lot of joy in the room”.

Our next group takes place on Sunday 18th Feburary, please get in touch if you would like to attend – hello@millyssmiles.org.

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News SOULS

SOULS Christmas Wreath Making

On Sunday we held our monthly bereavement SOULS group (support, optimism, understanding, love and strength) and the theme was Christmas Wreath making.

Despite us all having experienced the worst loss imaginable, our groups are supportive, fun and filled with people with the most beautiful hearts.

There was an abundance of creative activity today and by the end of the session everyone was thrilled with their wreaths.

We were given brilliant tuition and guidance from the wonderful Debbie at Ewood Florist and it was such a lovely morning with lovely people.

Massive thanks to Debbie for sharing her skills with us and huge thank you to Asda at Accrington for funding the morning.

Finally, thank you to everyone who comes along to the groups, I know how hard it is to put a smile on your face and turn up for the first time, not knowing what to expect, wondering who will be there and what the expectations of you are.

Always know that there are no expectations, that you will always be very welcome and if you can’t quite find your smile that day, we got you.

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News SOULS

SOULS – Pumpkin Carving

Yesterday we held our SOULS support group, and it was such a lovely relaxing morning, beginning with coffee and fresh pastries, followed by some great pumpkin carving which produced some very unique and fabulous designs.

Everyone who came was also treated to a wonderful massage by Laura’s,MySpace4you which proved to be very popular.

Our groups are every month, and open to parents, grandparents and siblings and are totally free to attend. Please contact us if you would like to join our next group on November 26th.

Special thank you to Laura for donating her massages and also to Accrington Asda for the generous donation of pumpkins.

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News SOULS

“A caring, nurturing environment where I feel safe and secure”

We continue to hold our SOULS bereavement support groups each month, and this month we received some lovely feedback from one of the ladies that attends.

“Your meetings offer a relaxed environment to talk, whilst we are all engaged in craft activities. Having a craft to do means I can choose throughout the session, whether to join in the conversation or focus on the craft if there are times I don’t want to talk”.

Our groups are all about being present, with people who understand and with whom we share a common bond. This month we spent the hours painting pebbles, and again there were some great creations. We all seem to be discovering hidden talents!

Our groups are open to parents, grandparents and siblings, and are free to attend.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more.

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News SOULS

Wild Hope by Donna Ashworth

You don’t move on after loss, but you must move with. You must shake hands with grief, welcome her in, for she lives with you now. Pull her a chair at the table and offer her comfort. She is not the monster you first thought her to be. She is love. And she will walk with you know, stay with you now, peacefully. If you let her. And on the days when your anger is high, remember why she came, remember who she represents. Remember. Grief came to you, my friend, because love came first. Love came first.

Donna Ashworth – ‘Wild Hope’

Our 4th SOULS meeting took place last weekend, it warms my heart to see these lovely people arriving at the unit, open to spending time with strangers who are now becoming friends.

We share our stories, our joys and our heartbreaks, we have an unspoken understanding because we are the same, we walk to the same path in life and we are ultimately joined by an invisible bond.

As we work on our chosen crafts we wonder if our precious children are watching down on us, proudly saying that’s my mum/grandma/sister/brother.

Along the way we manage to create some fantastic pieces, at our group this month we worked with resin – and some fabulous designs were created.

Our groups are open to parents, grandparents and siblings who has experience the loss of a child – they are completely free to attend. Please get in touch for more information.

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News SOULS

Fairy House Painting!

This months meet up was slightly depleted due to holidays and sickness, however it was another lovely afternoon, spent with people who are quickly becoming friends with a shared bond.

We spent the time chatting and painting our fairy houses which proved to be very relaxing, we could hear the rain beating down, yet we were warm and comfortable in our meeting room.

Loulou’s Meringues kindly donated a selection of cake treats for us all which were delicious, they were very quickly polished off during the session!

These monthly meets give families the chance to spend time with people who understand and the benefits in attending are significant and include:

  • Realising you are not alone
  • Being able to express your feelings within a safe and supportive environment. This can be a very therapeutic and healing experience, particularly as you will find others in the group listen non-judgmentally, and agreeing that they too have similar feelings.
  • Gaining hope, it is very powerful to see others in the group who are further along their road to recovery and who have been able to work towards a happier life, living alongside their grief. Having these role models shows that recovery is attainable and this brings renewed hope for the future.
  • Increased self-understanding. Families will learn and share effective ways to cope and handle difficult situations. They will gain better understanding about themselves.
  • Helping others – as families benefit from support they will be able to help new members grow and make progress. They will be able to affect others positively by sharing their story, their challenges and fears.
  • Affordability – groups are free to attend, there is no financial cost at all.

Our sessions are open to all families who have lost a child, no matter how recent or how long ago. If you are thinking of coming along or would like to know more, please do get in touch, we would love to speak to you.

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News SOULS

Fairy House Creations

On Sunday, mums and siblings came together for our monthly SOULS craft therapy, supporting bereaved families. The plan was to make beautiful Fairy Houses.

Everyone arrived with their jam jar in tow, and it was like meeting old friends. It was lovely to see the interaction with everyone, we had a new member join the group and at the end of the session she said “You are all lovely beautiful people, it was a pleasure to be in your company today. Felt totally at ease with you all today. Thank you’.

It can be very daunting turning up to a new group on your own, we try our very best to ensure everyone feels welcome and at ease. By immersing yourself into the crafting sessions, it becomes easier to talk without any pressure.

At this session we created Fairy Houses, from a jam jar, air drying clay and some brilliant tips from YouTube!

It was agreed by everyone that it was a lovely few hours, crafting, chatting and talking about our children in a very safe environment.

There were some amazing fairy houses produced along the way too! Next month we will be painting the houses, and for those who were unable to attend this session they will be able to make a fairy house which they can paint at home.

Our SOULS group is open to anyone living with the loss of a child/grandchild/sibling/niece/nephew, please get in touch if you would like to come along and find out how we can support you.

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News SOULS

‘It really helps being with people who just get it’

In May the first of our monthly creative and supportive therapies group for bereaved families took place in our unit.

The plan for the afternoon was to make beautifully scented candles and wax melts. We were supported by Karen, our lovely craft lady, who helped inspire our senses to create new scents and fragrances.

Mums, aunties, brothers and sisters of children who are no longer with us joined us, we started the session as strangers, but as the afternoon progressed, we created some amazing candles whilst building friendships and creating support networks because of our unique bond of loss and grief.

The afternoon flew by and everyone was quite rightly very proud of what they had created. At the end of the session talk was already starting about the next one – Fairy House Making!

It was lovely to be in an environment that was a totally safe place for everyone to process their emotions and talk about their children.

Our next session is Sunday 2 July at 2pm. If you would like to join us please get in touch via the website, or email hello@millyssmiles.org.

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Events News SOULS

Creative Therapies Support Group

Our candle making day for bereaved families was enjoyed by all who attended. We had a mix of mums, grandparents, aunties and brothers and sisters. The group very quickly bonded over coffee and biscuits and the whole day was very natural, with people talking about their children and sharing experiences.

There is a common feeling amongst bereaved parents that those around them cannot truly understand the depth of their grief, only those who have been through it themselves can possibly know the extent of their suffering.

By bringing families together to undertake various creative therapies we aim to provide understanding, comfort, friendship, support and hope. It feels after our first session that this is very much underway.

Our next session is on Sunday 2 July at 2pm, where we will be creating fairy houses. The afternoon is open to anyone who has lost a child and is totally free to attend.