Kingdom has supported the work of Anthony McMahon, a Kingdom Supervisor with over 12 years continuous service, at multinational law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (known as Freshfields) in London.
Anthony founded the John Paul Retreats in October 2015. This charity helps parents and siblings who are trying to cope with the loss of loved ones, either through death or other unforeseen tragedy.
Anthony has established a place where people who experience similar trauma can meet together and begin to come to terms with their loss. This consists of two apartments on the Isle of Bute in Scotland for bereaved parents and siblings. The retreats allow parents and siblings to come to the beautiful island, a place of compassion and peace, to find some comfort in the tranquil surroundings.
It is named John Paul Retreats in memory of Anthony’s brother who was killed in a car accident in 1984 aged just 16 years old. After the death of John Paul, their parents suffered greatly, and Anthony witnessed firsthand the daily difficulties faced by parents after losing a child. John Paul’s death greatly contributed to their parents also sadly passing away in their early fifties.
Since setting up the charity, Anthony has been communicating with over 60 bereaved parents and siblings who have lost children to accidental deaths, terminal illness, suicide and other tragic circumstances. Already this has enabled many parents to come away in periods of darkness for a week’s free break, and the apartments are now booked out until September 2016.
There is no cost involved to bereaved families when visiting John Paul Retreats. However small donations can be made via the charity’s JustGiving page - https://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/compfriends/johnpaulsretreat - to maintain the running of the retreat home, and Kingdom has been more than pleased to contribute financially to this and is proud to sponsor Anthony’s moving and inspiring work.
Speaking about his work, Anthony said: “I am not a trained counsellor, but thankfully I have been able to bring compassion to the parents and siblings and journey alongside them in their grief, offering the hand of my support in periods of darkness. It has been touching over the last number of months to listen actively to many incredible tragedies which each parent has to live with each minute of their day.
“For some they have become isolated and not able to face society, resulting in not being able to return to work. Many others have daily guilt that they could not notice that a problem was present with their child and they should have noticed something was wrong. These are only two examples of the emotions that need to be faced each day.
“I have learned the death of the child remains with the parents forever, and guilt, denial, fear and blame are just some of the emotions which need to be faced. This is no easy task, but through reflecting about the situations and loss, John Paul Retreats simply encourages the parents and siblings that it is possible to smile again through everyday remembering of their child.”
Much more information can be found about John Paul Retreats on the website www.johnpaulretreats.org, including news stories, a video and tributes.
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