Guest blog - Life in all its fullness

22 May 2017

On Friday 19 May 2017 Jim (my husband) and I were  special guests at the opening of the new Ahumuza Mental Health Centre at Kisiizi Hospital in Uganda. This was a significant event for us on many levels. It was the first time that we had visited Kisiizi since 2011 when we went on a family holiday/fundraising trip with our son, Jamie, who sadly became ill and died while we were in Africa. We established a charity, ‘Jamie’s Fund’ and the new mental health centre has been built in Jamie’s memory.

Losing Jamie was incredibly painful and disorientating, we have had to dig deep to adjust to a life that no longer physically includes him. We have found that we have had to create a new sense of our self in a world we struggled to even recognise. All this has taken huge effort especially knowing that whatever emerged we could never again live our Plan A life, no amount of effort could bring back Jamie. Significantly, we have also learnt that sadness and emptiness don’t have to co-exist and that we can still live full lives whilst holding the sadness of our loss.

These reflections have massively strengthened my person centredness (you might have noticed this in our development of the Person Centred Framework). Each time we give a life changing diagnosis or are with people who have experienced traumatic life changing events, that person’s sense of themselves is likely to have been rocked or, worse, shattered and how we connect with them at that moment and beyond can make all the difference.

Connecting with people at CWP and at Kisiizi has certainly made all the difference to us and we will always be grateful for the support and encouragement that we have received. The new Mental Health Centre is an amazing place because of the people who are there. The motto of Kisiizi Hospital is ‘Life in all its fullness’, we are more aware than ever that full lives can be lived whatever a person’s circumstances. We are incredibly comforted to know that that people will continue to be blessed because of Jamie’s life. We embraced the day in all its fullness and look forward to reporting back and bringing you photos of this special day.

Avril Devaney

Director Of Nursing, Therapies and Patient Partnership

 

 

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