Did you know about the Space for Sadness the Chaplaincy provided on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?  Making space for people who feel sad to spend time together might not sound very appealing, especially on occasions advertised as moments of celebration.  But of course, many people’s family life doesn’t match up to the ideal.  Bereavement, estrangement, abuse, or simply distance separating parents from children can cause sadness.  And this can be harder to bear when families around you are celebrating, and retailers and restaurants all across the town centre are advertising whatever they can offer to make Mother’s Day or Father’s Day happy.

At a Space for Sadness, it’s OK to feel sad about the occasion for any reason, and to talk about that or to choose to keep your story private.  Nice refreshments are available.   Flowers are provided to place in a vase marked: For my father, or a vase marked: For my child.  No explanation need be given, but the Chaplain is on hand to listen if anyone wants to discuss what’s upsetting them, talk about their parents or children, or simply chat for distraction if that could help.  There’s a journal to write what you remember, hope for, or plan to do next.  On Mother’s Day, participants made Mother’s Day cards which better expressed their personal experiences than the mass-produced cards in the shops, and on Father’s Day, there were templates headed Sorry I Missed You, where participants could write or draw what they miss or missed in their relationship with their dad or relationship with their children. 

People came and shared their experiences, but we also believe that the flyers we delivered by hand to local businesses and displayed on community notice-boards let even more people know that someone understood that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult days, that it’s OK to feel sad when something is wrong in family relationships, and that help and support is available in Watford town centre from our Chaplaincy.