Sharron’s journey is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of community. After a sudden and painful loss, Sharron found healing and connection through the Befriend community. Her involvement in the storytelling group not only provided a platform to express her emotions but also a network of friends who offered support and understanding.
About five years ago, Sharron lost her husband unexpectedly just as they were preparing to retire. Feeling isolated and alone, she found solace in writing, a hobby they both intended to pursue during their retirement.
About one year ago, Sharron came across an ad for a Befriend writing & storytelling group. Initially, she joined for the writing aspect but soon found herself immersed in the oral storytelling as well. She explained how the reception from the group encouraged her to stay. “I just got such a warm welcome. And [then]as I said, they couldn’t shut me up,” Sharron remembers with a smile.
Over time through the Befriend group, Sharron found the courage to write and tell stories about her past memories, even ones she had long forgotten. She says the writing exercises helped her process some of her significant life experiences. “It gives me the courage to be able to tell things that I know I’ve got deeply buried,” Sharron shares. She also appreciates the feedback she receives on her writing from the memoir group leader, Robert, as it helps her grow and develop as a writer.
The storytelling group at Befriend, led by Miranda, with its guided meditations and traditional tales, has become a haven for Sharron. She appreciates the bravery it takes to share personal stories within the group and is inspired by the courage of others. While many may associate storytelling with entertainment for kids, Sharron appreciates the depth and complexity of the stories they share, as well as the varied meanings each person draws from the story – like exploring different facets of a diamond.
Sharron emphasised how grateful she is for the safety and acceptance the storytelling group provides, and credits this to the hosts – Miranda, Gail, and Marie – and the culture they’ve fostered. She shares how Miranda, the host, treats everyone with equal respect and kindness. “You [could] be a homeless man and [Miranda would] still … treat that you as well as she treats the University professor.” The group has become a crucial part of Sharron’s life, boosting her social confidence and enabling her to assert herself more in daily life, to reach out and connect with others. “It’s given me the courage to speak out.”
Sharron’s story is a powerful reminder of the healing power of storytelling and the strength of community. Her journey inspires us to seek out connections and reminds us of the importance of creating safe spaces for sharing personal stories. If Sharron’s story resonates with you, and you feel ready to take those first steps into community life, check out other Befriend storytelling events and opportunities here!