On Wednesday my mum and I went down to Cardiac Risk in the Young’s annual Parliamentary Reception. I was invited in my role as Bereavement Supporter, as well as contributor to their new Sibling Grief booklet, which was launched this week.
Contributors to the Sibling Grief Booklet
Half the trains from Cardiff to London had been cancelled that day, but luckily not ours! Sadly I had to work Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon, so no time for Christmas shopping or sightseeing. After checking in at the hotel, we dashed across Westminster Bridge. I’d never been in to the Houses of Parliament before, such amazing history. An old friend, my Godmother’s daughter who used to work there as a Parliamentary Researcher, surprised us by turning up to the reception. After the reception, she used her influence to help us have a poke around the place, and get access to places like the chapel in the crypt. The most inspiring and poignant place we saw was the broom cupboard in which Tony Benn has placed a plaque to suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. On 2 March 1911, she hid in the broom cupboard so she could be registered as a resident of the House of Commons on the night of the census. Two years later she died by stepping in front of the King’s Horse in the Epsom Derby.
But our poking around happened later, when most people had left for the night. The reception itself was packed. It was great to be able to catch up with the people I did the bereavement counselling course with, and lovely to meet new people as well. It’s always hard being in a group like that, where you know sudden adult death has touched so many, but also really inspiring. The guest of honour, Andrew Triggs Hodge, the Olympic gold medallist, spoke really eloquently about how his own life had been touched by SADS. I was tempted to make off with the gold medal, but decided I’d better not…
(Photos by James McCauley)
I also had a good chat with my MP about why I was there. Our friend who used to work in Westminster said that she’d not seen as many MPs turn up and stay around for so long at an event like that. Sadly, one of the MPs had lost his daughter a few months ago to SADS. I really hope they left feeling inspired and a lot more knowledgeable about what can be done to stop these losses.
I also filmed a short piece which will be going up on CRY’s new sibling support website soon. http://crysiblinggrief.org/
I look slightly terrifying in this photo. My only defence was that it was freezing, my feet hurt (how can people wear heels all the time?!) and I was starving. My mum and I ended the night eating room service pizza in bed and watching World’s Craziest Police Chases!
It was a tiring, emotional day but I was so glad to be a part of it. A group of people coming together with common experience and intention can be such a powerful thing.