How Barretstown Saved Us

Today I joined a conference call with Bartretstown to address GSK, one of their key sponsors, where I shared the moment when Barretstown shone a light on my darkest hour. I thought I could share it with you as well.

Our Arrival

It starts in 2007 at the intercom at the front gate of Barretstown where we arrived for their weekend Berievement camp. One of about 25 families there that weekend we were broken, hopeless, scared and unsure.

Feeling very vulnerable I wanted to turn back in fear we would not be able to handle a weekend with strangers in a place we knew nothing about.

I turned my head to the back seats where Harry and Robbie were seated and then turned to Jackie.  Holding her hand, we silently spoke using only our eyes to communicate. We knew we had go for Harry and Robbie as in the preceding days we told them we were going to a magical place that would help make us feel better and remember Adam.

With tears welling up, my heart pounding, I reached out and pressed the intercom button.A friendly voice invited us in as the gates opened and we drove through a dark tunnel of trees immediately sensing a calming presence of nature around us. Leaving the trees behind us we turned a bend and found ourselves flanked on both sides by enormous flags welcoming us to Barretstown. For the sake of the boys Jackie and I managed to blurt out “Wow! Harry, Robbie- look at the flags, all this for just us”. I can recall that gave me a lift.

Meeting the Campers

A moment later it was then that we saw them – “The Campers”. About 20 members of the Barretstown camp smiling and waving welcoming us to a happy safe place.

A massive waft of emotion hits and fighting back the tears we managed to choke out a “Yahoo! We’re here.” (Something we did with Adam every time we arrived at Brittas Bay. We still do it today)

Then like a wounded animal unable to communicate their pain we were helped as a big warm magical Barretstown blanket of love and compassion wrapped around us and we literally fell into their arms and surrendering completely into their care. It was the first time I felt like I could since Adam died and from there they went about their incredible work to help heal our broken hearts.

The Magic of Barretstown

There is no magic wand for grief but there is a certain magic in Barretstown that heals, gave us hope and helped us remember and celebrate Adam. That was the day we began to get stronger.

Barretstown’s mission is to rebuild the lives of children affected by serious illness, and their families, through a life changing therapeutic recreation programme in a safe, fun and supportive environment.

I am so lucky to have benefited from the work Barretstown do and privileged to be able work along side them and to support them a little with donations from the sales of my first book Before you Sleep.

Thank you Barretstown and GSK for helping me and my family.