Feeling Fab Foundation was founded by Elizabeth (Liz) York after her own experience with loss and grief.
Having seen a desperate need in her own experience for love, support, even the comfort of distraction and pampering, she set out to do the same for others walking through bereavement.
Allan York had to make a long, late drive home to join Liz and their three young sons. They would then face a still longer drive, to the sudden funeral of Liz’s grandmother. But Allan’s car left the road and flipped into the river below.
The next morning, Liz had to tell her boys that their dad had drowned.
“They screamed,” she recalls. “For months into years, the sound filled my head… Grief is a tunnel where you think you’re never coming out.”
Liz tackled her situation by becoming a grief counsellor. Today, some 20 years later, she is still helping other women to find their way out of the tunnel.
Feeling Fab, which Liz founded in 2013, hosts monthly pamper days for women in grief. The days include hair styling, makeup sessions, manicures, massages, craft tables, tea and lunch, all free. “When you’re grieving, you miss feeling like your old self,” says Liz. “To start feeling better, you have bring some joy into that grief.”
Each pamper day involves 20 recipients and 30 hands-on volunteers – “my Feeling Fab angels”, as Liz calls them. Recipients often return as volunteers, drawn back to the elixir of camaraderie, fun and healing created by the day. The greatest heroes, she adds, are those grief-numbed pamper day recipients who force themselves to arrive, only to feel too low to leave the car. Liz and her angels gently stop the ones who look set to drive away, and welcome all with cuddles.
The Feeling Fab Foundation Committee:
- Elizabeth York
- Lionel Caines
- Lynda Schuler
- Cath Copley
- Brooke Murray
- Rebecca Kruger
- Christine Berben
- Carol Collett
- Angela Mills
- Michelle Kennedy
- Tracey-Maree Houia
- Antoinette Van Zyl
Mentored with many thanks by Deborah Wilkinson
Our vision is informed by the principle of empowerment – Whakamana– through Mana Atua – commitment to the wellbeing of women in grief through the community gift of time and resources. Te Whakapaukaha ki te whakatairanga i nga wahine me te pukatokato i roto i nga hapori o te wa me nga rauemi.
Our organisation is focused on bringing joy and support for those women who have suffered grief and loss. Our programmes are designed to bring a special gift to those who have attended our Pamper Days.
The word Pamper is used to communicate to those in need an opportunity to be cared for, through a day of nurturing that renews the sense of self. Our programme draws on the basis nurturing principle of Mana Atua – wellbeing.
Our longer term goal is to take our programme to small towns and rural communities throughout New Zealand and have a wider inclusive range of participants. We also want to create pamper days for men as they too need nurturing when in grief. Discussions regarding this are currently underway.
It is our privilege to be able to assist our women participants and make a difference to them at a stressful transitional time in their lives.
The pampering days are based on the belief that if people feel better about themselves on the outside they will feel better on the inside. We provide hairstyling, make-up, manicures and hand massage. It is a wonderful opportunity also to leave that blanket of grief at the door. To meet others who have had a similar experience, make new friends and have a fabulous day. Our team have huge hearts and understand that those grieving need tender loving care in a safe environment.
These days couldn’t be offered without the efforts of a group of volunteers, sponsors, supporters and many kind donations.