Ann Nolan

Ann Nolan New.png

I’m Ann, I’m 51 years old and work for the NHS. 

I’ve known Nadine for just over 10 years. My role at Lighthouses is as one of the Directors.
I also assist at the retreats to welcome and support the attendees. A lot of the people who come along look really worried when they first arrive, so I’ll support them going through the process over the weekend. 

When people are distressed and upset, one of that skills I’m good at is identifying when someone wants to talk and when they don’t, or if they need a hug or they don’t. I’m very empathetic and can put myself in people’s shoes. 

I’m also good at allowing people to be where they are at that point in their life and go through what they need to go through. I’m friendly, understanding and have life experiences too. That’s what I bring to the retreats and to my support with Nadine and the team.

Lighthouses is a very, very unique service. I’ve never come across anything like it before.

When you lose a baby it’s different to losing a parent or a sibling. Some people find it hard to understand that a person can love something that they can’t see or didn’t know for long.

Grief isn’t cut and dried. It’s not something that can be done and dusted. 

The people who attend our retreats have nowhere to go with their grief. They’re often surrounded by people who offer them clichés and at Lighthouses this doesn’t happen. Nadine also encourages couples to come along together because often partners can get forgotten about.

People don’t have clear cut emotions. Some get really angry with you. You have to be able to not take it personally. Under all the anger and fear is love and that’s why they feel how they do. 

Often too, although people mean well with what they say to someone suffering with grief, sometimes they just need to stop and listen. Words have energy and you’re vulnerable when you’ve had a loss. Be careful when you’re speaking to someone who is suffering.  

I don’t think Nadine realises how revolutionary the retreats are. 

Attending gives you an opportunity to tell people how you REALLY feel in a safe place. It’s a wonderful opportunity to go and just vent those feelings that may be shut away inside you.

It’s confidential, what you say doesn’t go anywhere and it’s all set in such a beautiful place too. 

From what I’ve experienced with Lighthouses and what I’ve seen bereaved parents go through when they are on the retreats, I find it hard to put into words just how unique and wonderful it really is.