The SUDC Foundation Family Retreat – from an SUDC Parent and Board Member’s Perspective
We live in St Paul, Minnesota, with our 7-year-old daughter, Elianna. We had never heard of SUDC before November 2016 when we lost our 3-year-old daughter, Vivienne, suddenly and without explanation. Thankfully, several people reached out to us pointing us to the SUDC Foundation. We attended the SUDC Foundation’s first-ever Family Retreat in Naples, Florida, last year, where we found great comfort in spending time with other families like ours.
Memorable moments that we have from last year’s retreat include SUDC siblings spending time together and getting to know one another and developing special friendships to last a lifetime. We also really enjoyed the time spent at the pool with other families, like ours, and being able to finally feel relaxed and “normal” knowing that we had so much in common.
The retreat gave our family the experience of finally be surrounded by people who could truly understand what life after child loss was like. While online forums are wonderful, nothing beats spending several days together, getting to know one another better and develop even closer friendships. It’s these friendships and mutual support which have really carried us through the times when we felt like we couldn’t keep going.
The SUDC Foundation’s on-going commitment to the families it serves deepens the relationships gained through peer support after child loss. We feel that it is so important to continue to support new bereaved members and help them find their way through this incredibly difficult journey. More importantly, with increased involvement, and greater numbers of SUDC supporters working together, we will continue to bring more attention and resources to understanding SUDC—and then prevention to decrease the number of new additions to our community.
At this year’s upcoming retreat in Phoenix, Arizona October 11th-13th, we are looking forward to strengthening our bonds with other SUDC families, and especially supporting the new members to our unfortunate community. We look forward to seeing the Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and supporters being together and the gratitude and peace that comes with understanding each other without having to explain anything. We also really look forward to seeing the siblings of SUDC get to know each other and learning from others that it is “ok” to miss their siblings-and they are not alone in their grief.
Knowing it didn’t just “happen to us” is part of coping and learning to live with our loss. Being able to help and support others near and far is an important purpose of the Vivienne’s Joy Foundation and our own personal evolution.