When I first heard about Camp Magic, my first reaction was, there is no way I would be able to get my 16-Year-old daughter, Charlie to go. In fact, when I asked her to have a look at the videos on their website she was adamant that there was no way she was going. Since our 12-year-old daughter Billie died 16 months ago, Charlie had seen a couple of psychologists but didn’t like any of them and flatly refused to go and talk to anyone. Charlie was angry, confused and was struggling to find direction.
Our beautiful 12-year-old daughter and Charlie’s sister, Billie was involved in a freak horse accident on May 29th, 2016. Up until losing Billie, I would have to have been the happiest person alive. I never took my life for granted and can honestly say that I was totally content with everything I had. My husband Dave and my girls, Charlie 15 and Billie 12 were my everything. Then in a blink of an eye, the world turned black, it felt like, life without Billie wasn’t really life at all. She was with me constantly. She was my mini me, my shadow. I never knew how much you could love someone until my children came along, how precious life was until Billie left and I never knew how much hurt a person could endure since losing her 18 months ago.
Billie’s death has irrevocably changed me. It left me feeling isolated and detached. The world goes on and yet mine stopped dead in its tracks. Billie’s death has left a huge deep dark hole. A dry hole so deep that there is no treading water, only the horrific truth that every day I have to claw my way up to the top and be there for my other daughter, Charlie and my husband Dave.
Feel the Magic founders, James and Kristy spent hours listening, providing backup and support and gave me the tools to get Charlie to camp.
On Kristy’s advice, I promised that if Charlie went and didn’t like it, I would pick her up after 24 hours. I told Charlie that for the health of our family this was non-negotiable and that she had to attend. After a week of kicking and screaming and a lot of sarcastic comments and attitude the day finally came to drop her off.
Our first point of contact was with Gemma, Charlie’s mentor. I had spoken with Gemma at length a couple of days prior to the camp and explained our situation. Gemma was amazing and they both immediately formed what is now a close friendship.
Charlie felt Camp Magic was a safe space, a space where she could share and grieve and trust people with her deepest secrets. Charlie really did open up and allow herself to feel, cry and let go. As a parent, I couldn’t believe it. It was incredible!
For the first time, Charlie was among people that “got her”. She was with other grieving children, who although all had different stories, had a common bond. Charlie learnt a new language, one she could express in terms of numbers and seasons…… it all made so much sense.
Charlie’s experience was so great that she has now undertaken the training to be a mentor and is going back to the next camp as a trainee.
We are so incredibly proud that Charlie has found this connection and that she believes so much in ‘Feel the Magic’s’ work, that she wants to give back and be a part of this incredible journey for others.
As a parent the relief was profound. Camp Magic had given Charlie the tools to encourage her to take control of her life and be responsible for the choices she makes.
In our unchartered waters, this helped redefine our boundaries and has given us hope.
Danny Kinda x
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