I am pretty sure that each and every one of you reading this article has heard the saying, “We have all joined a club, and this is a club that no one ever wanted to belong to.”

I beg to differ. I just wish I could have joined this club without having lost my beautiful 12-year-old daughter.  But I believe this club would have to be the best group of people that I have ever encountered.

The love, the reality, the empathy and the knowing that is part of this “grief club” is like no other.  What an incredible group of people!

When we lose the people we love and can’t live without, we often find ourselves in a heap on the floor.  People fall down and think they will never ever get up and yet, they do, and here we still are, even when we don’t want to be!

I have said many times that Billie’s death has changed me. I’m not sure if that is really true. What Billie dying has done is taken me to the deepest darkest depths of pain and suffering. I am still me and yet I feel I have been awakened to a more feeling, real, compassionate version of myself.  I always felt I was a good, loving, kind person, and I was, but this insurmountable grief has catapulted me to a whole new level.  Still me but on a level where there is a sense of “knowing”, of truly understanding other people’s pain and suffering.  A new level of what it is to be human.

I am still me.

We have been face to face with emotions and feelings we never knew we had, we have been taken to depths of incomprehendible pain and  yet we get back up and open up to others, to risk love, be vulnerable and still give others empathy and hope.

I have lost many of what I thought were close friends on this journey, but I have made so many more new ones.  I have stepped into a new world of amazing souls that share their truth like no others.  Grief draws people to other grieving people, because only they can truly know and understand, only they have had a glimpse into this new world, this new club.

I’m pretty sure everyone would leave the club to have their loved ones back, but knowing this can never be, I am pretty sure that now in the club, most of us view life very differently.

Most of the amazing charities, fundraisers, awareness and support groups were started through grieving parents, siblings or partners.

We want to make our loved ones lives matter and because of them,  grief awakens a passion for compassion that enables us to help others in their names.

If only we could have got to this club by just growing older and wiser instead.

Danny Mayson Kinder

I am 52 years old. I was a portrait and wedding photographer but am now setting up "end of life photography". I currently live in Wilberforce, Sydney, NSW. Billie my beautiful youngest daughter died in May 2016. Charlie my oldest 17 year old daughter is currently in year 12. Since losing Billie, I have been setting up her charity, Fly High Billie. I put together a selection of Billie's poems, stories and artwork and compiled a wonderful book called "hope". I am currently working on a grief workbook to use alongside "hope" for school age children.

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