Scaling new heights with WAY

April 2024

WAY member Liz shares how a recent activity weekend with fellow WAY members helped her and her three boys to scale new heights, literally…

My name is Liz and I’m 39. I have three boys Tom, 13, Matthew, 11 and Henry, 7. Our WAY journey started a few days after my husband Jeff passed away on 4 March 2019 from bowel cancer. Back in September 2017, Jeff went from having a bit of tummy trouble to being told he had bowel cancer within a week. Two weeks later we were told that the cancer had already spread to his liver and lymph nodes and all they could do was buy us time. My boys attended the Children’s Bereavement Centre in Newark before Jeff’s passing because of this. The support group is brilliant and it was another mum who recommended WAY when the time came. 

Although I have been a member of WAY’s peer support network for nearly five years, I only managed to attend one lunch meet up before Covid came along. I was too nervous to join in on any nights/days out or holidays after that until last year. I sadly missed booking onto the PGL trip in 2023 but took the plunge in October to go to Mount Cook activity centre in Matlock with fellow WAY members. The kids got to do activities while the adults did relaxing yoga. It was a fantastic weekend !

That weekend went so well, we couldn’t wait to book on to the PGL activity weekend when it came up in February 2024. It really helped that some families we had met at Mount Cook would be joining us at PGL in Lincolnshire.  Some had been to PGL before and said how brilliant it was. 

I was still edgy but the kids were very excited, especially the big lads as they got to be in their own groups for the weekend. I think we were one of the closest to the PGL site near Grantham so our road trip didn’t take long. As soon as we arrived at PGL the staff were so welcoming. They helped us with our bags and got us settled.  We soon headed out on the tour. Everyone was so friendly and quite quickly everyone was chatting like old friends. We had a great evening getting to know everyone.

"It really was amazing to see the whole group supporting each other and the kids grow in confidence over the whole weekend."

Taking the plunge

The best bit of the weekend for me came on Saturday morning. Our first activity was climbing.  Henry was so nervous about climbing and kept saying, “I won’t be able to do it! I’m scared of heights!” Our instructor, Helen, was amazing and the group was so supportive of each other. I watched Henry grow in so much confidence just in that hour and a half.  It was epic! He started out just going a little way and each time he got  higher and higher until he challenged me to a race to the top. Then he was off.  He faced every challenge and went for it. It really was amazing to see the whole group supporting each other and the kids grow in confidence over the whole weekend.

The older children couldn’t wait to tell us how they’d got on and quickly made friends of their own. The whole weekend was an amazing experience from start to finish - with lots of fun, laughter and enjoying life! The only moaning from mine was that they didn’t want to leave. The food was brilliant and the bonus was that I didn’t have to think about it. I didn’t have to wash up and even my fussy eaters found food they liked! It was a win-win all round. 

I would really recommend taking the plunge and joining a WAY event to anyone thinking about it.  I wish I had done it sooner! We didn’t spend the weekend in sorrow. (I say this because a close friend of mine thought that’s what we would do!) We did talk about our loved ones, if we wanted to. It just felt like I was in a safe place to do so. 

Now that I am nearly five years on, some of my friends do not get that I still get upset and need to talk about Jeff! Some feel I should have moved on by now, but WAY members get it! WAY is a unique group that I will always be a part of. It’s sad that we all find ourselves here but I’m so glad it exists as it makes you realise you’re not alone. 

One of the benefits of being a member of WAY is the chance to join meet ups with fellow WAY members who understand exactly what you’re going through. We organise a range of events throughout the year for members with and without children, including our annual AGM in September, which we hold at different venues around the UK.

Read about previous WAY activity weekends away below