It’s Saturday morning and I’m indulging in a lie-in fully endorsed by Hector who has cocooned himself in his blanket. We’ve developed our own rhythm since Stephen died – true companions. We both feel the loss in different ways. On our walks Hector can sometimes rush after a chap that resembles his former master. We both want him back and that’s not going to happen in this life.

We’ve been reinventing our life together for over four years, and some days are harder than others. Listening to the tragedy unfolding around the Shoreham air crash brings back the impact of sudden loss most vividly. You get up one morning, go out for the day and then your whole world changes forever as your loved ones have gone, without warning.

How do you rebuild from there? How can you fill the void?

With the help of the Tribe.

For the first time in four years I’ve had a two-week holiday. I went to Northumberland with my sister’s family, my parents and assorted friends. Fabulously welcoming people we met in the North East – not least my expert cheese scone-making pal Victoria! There were nine of us under one roof, aged from 20 to 81! What a noisy, chaotic, energetic, and warm experience it has been.

I’ve been reflecting on the power of the family since I rejoined my Evermore family this week. I’ve shared the funny moments from my holiday and realised how much of an Evermore experience I’ve had on an intergenerational level.

The strongest theme for me has been conviviality around mealtimes. Breakfast was a time of doing your own thing, getting what you wanted to eat and joining in with whoever was at the table. Everyone starts the day in their own way – the washed and pressed (my Pa), the pyjama crew and the just crawled from under the duvet when smelled bacon (20-somethings). The breakfast rituals could stretch well into mid-morning as the banter bounced around the table. And then dinner was always the focal point of the evening: good food and wine, plenty of it and lots of lively chat. We all adopted a place around the table which we stuck to the whole fortnight, why is that? Well, as our friend and global chair Dr Bill Thomas would say, it’s really important to have our own place at The Table to feel included as a full member of the Tribe.

So now Hector and I are back in the calm and solitude of our home, how do we recreate those special moments of companionship, conviviality and inclusion within a bigger tribe? We’re doing it already with pizza night with Ma and Pa, chilli with friends on Friday night, sharing food with the Evermore gang (including Rachel’s homemade muesli) and more.

It still takes a lot of effort to go out and join in but the rewards are massive. And whilst we’ll never fill the void we can continue to live our lives as Stephen wanted, remembering the great times and good food (he was a fantastic cook). Let’s all make the effort to share this cure for loneliness with everyone.

Sara
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Sara McKee
Founder and Market Innovation Director
Follow Sara on Twitter @SaraMcKeeFRSA