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31/12-16 at 09.50 by: Ruth Jackson
Hope in Honesty

I’ve been trying not to look at my social media feeds too much over the Christmas season, wanting to give both the tired mind and the nagging repetitive strain injury a bit of a rest (turns out social media is really bad for your shoulder). I admit though that today, New Year’s Eve 2016, I’ve been having a little peek and can’t help noticing the usual flurry of very well-meaning inspirational quotes, resolutions and high fives for the year to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I also think it’s really important to face a new year full of hope of good things to come and let’s face it, after a year like 2016, we all live in the hope of the immortal words of Prof Brian Cox, that “Things can only get better”. However, the reality for so many this festive season is that they are dreading the year ahead, feeling anxious, full of fear and wondering how they will make it through. Are we brave enough to share these honest feelings alongside the flood of feel good statements, or will this just bring people down?

This really came home to me today through one touching and honest post on face book by someone I don’t know personally but do through others who’d liked the post – such is the power of social media! It was a short but poignant post about how tough things had been in 2016 for this family, how they don’t know how they will be able to face 2017 or meet the demands of life, such as paying bills, finding enough work, simply surviving. This post generated over 200 responses and seemed to really touch a nerve, with many of those commenting also sharing their own struggles and more importantly, offering the hand of friendship and asking how they could help.

This was one of the most uplifting posts I’ve read in a long time. It didn’t end with a positive statement, it didn’t offer any instant solutions to the difficulties faced but it did demonstrate something much more profound and long lasting – how hope can be found in the darkest of times and how we can all help each other to face another day. This family are obviously very loved and it was truly heart-warming to see how many responses the post generated, but more than that, people seemed to genuinely want to help with many offering very practical ways in which they could. Over 200 of this families’ friends wanted them to know that they were with them, that they would help them face the next day.

We all know people going through really difficult times, they may be sick, lonely, facing financial difficulties, homeless, facing relationship difficulties, experiencing depression, anxiety or they may be worrying about children or other family members. Often there is no quick fix, no positive statement to magically make it all go away but we do have each other and we can be there for one another, one day at a time, until things get better.

Opening Bluebell Place this year has been an amazing time for us as a little charity and having a perinatal wellbeing hub right in the middle of the busy city centre has taught us a lot in a very short space of time. The lessons we’ve learned have been many and varied; building works management, fire safety, first-aid training, not to mention Barista skills. It’s been really hard work and really great fun but more importantly very moving to see the relief on mums and dads faces, as they come through the door for the first time knowing they can be truly honest about how they are feeling, that we will be with them as they face this often messy journey but giving them a glimmer of hope that they will get there.

Wishing you and your loved ones, strength and hope in 2017 from all at Bluebell x

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