The path I have taken by setting up ‘Elsie Ever After’ is of course motivated by the difficulties we had in gaining appropriate bereavement support after the death of our daughter. Many bereaved parents do feel the same sense of determination, to make sure others do not go through the struggles they did. They may fundraise for research in to the illness their child died of, or raise money for the teams of medical staff who supported them. However, my journey was not one of simply making something good happen out of something tragic, or making sure that Elsie’s name leaves some sort of legacy.
If I’m honest, I don’t particularly like being in the limelight, especially at a time when all I want to do is crawl in to bed and hide from the world. ‘So why are you doing it then?’ I hear you ask. Well, I believe in God. I believe he has a plan and a purpose for my life. At a time when I could easily doubt my faith and question why God didn’t answer my prayers and heal my child, I have chosen to have faith and trust that God’s answers are always wiser than my requests. That does not mean that my grief is made any less painful, or that I can accept the loss of my daughter better, far from it. My grief is as raw, horrific, painful and dark as any other mother, but the main belief I have that sees me through, is that I will see my daughter again in heaven.
Being a Christian also means that I seek to fulfil God’s purpose for me, and as such, I pray for guidance about what I should be doing with my life. I have a clear sense that I should be doing something to improve the support bereaved families get: not only do I have first-hand experience of the struggles in gaining support as a bereaved parent, but also in getting appropriate and timely support for children. When I began looking into raising a bit of money to support our local bereavement support provider, doors began opening, opportunities kept coming and the momentum of support seemed to snowball.
I kept saying, ‘I’ll see where it takes me, I won’t push for anything in particular, I will keep an open mind and if it’s right, then the path will open up for me and I shall follow.’ What was due to be a one off birthday fundraiser, has turned into something much bigger. The more I looked into support systems in place, the more I become aware of gaps that exist. In particular, I was saddened to learn of the restrictions that organisations are forced to place on the care they provide, due to financial restrictions and political tape. This is an area I am passionate about addressing – that EVERYONE can access bereavement support, regardless of location or circumstance.
I believe in the values that Jesus showed in the Bible: compassion, openness, kindness and care of ALL people, regardless of background or beliefs. Therefore, one of the main values we hold is that we will serve everybody: regardless of location, circumstance, religion, culture or beliefs. We strive to be non-judgemental and totally inclusive. Although my Christianity does impact my everyday life, by contacting Elsie Ever After, you will NOT be preached to, you will NOT be the target of some sort of ploy to convert you, you will NOT be judged and you will NOT be turned away. You WILL be welcomed and you WILL have access to bereavement support systems, provided by a wide range of organisations, to suit YOUR own needs.