A Snapshot of Living Again
Thu 21st Jul 2016
Not long after I started working for Butterwick Hospice I was asked to go and speak to a large group of people about a campaign I was working on as they may be able to help me.
Sounds good? Not to me. I had been asked to visit the Bereavement Drop in Group and to be honest I was really worried about what I would find there.
With some trepidation I set off downstairs to the Day Care area of the Hospice in Stockton as that was where I was told I would find the group. My visit was one I will always remember.
As I approached the Day Care room the first thing that struck me was the noise. I could hear lots of voices, mostly all talking at once, interspersed by loud laughter. I stopped in the doorway and looked at the people in the room. I must have looked as dumbstruck as I felt. A kindly lady approached me with a huge smile and said: “Hello dear, do come in. How can we help you?”
I explained I was looking for the Bereavement Group and was I in the wrong place. She assured me I was in the right place and apologised for the noise. She explained they were about to go on holiday and were looking at the albums from past holidays and high days they had shared together which was creating a lot of conversation and laughter.
We had a chat about what it was I needed to do then she called order. Everyone turned to me and I explained I was looking for some very brave ladies who were prepared to walk on a treadmill in a large department store window in their pyjamas to help us promote a new event. After they stopped laughing at me and each other and had encouraged each other to do it, half a dozen hands went up and I had found the volunteers I needed.
The Hospice Bereavement Drop-in Group I learned was where you go when your life has been shattered by the effects of the terminal illness that has taken the life of your loved one; be that your husband, wife, partner, friend, mum, dad etc.
I met husbands that explained they had lost the love of their lives after more than 30 years of happy marriage. I met wives who had lost devoted husbands and fathers of their devastated children. And yet these people seemed on the whole to be coping well, at least while they were there.
All of them explained the different things they got out of belonging to this group of positive people; the time, the shoulder to cry on, six hankies and lots of hugs every time something ‘set them off’. They had all gradually made friends with other people in the group who knew how they felt. They had lost the person they went everywhere with and so now went places with their supportive and experienced friends.
They held each other up when they could no longer stand and carried each other forward with lots of conversation, compassion and empathy and in this way they helped to rebuild each-others shattered lives and started living again.
To find out more about our Bereavement Group and other Support services, please visit 'Our Hospices' and navigate to your preferred hospice - Stockton, Bishop Auckland or our Childnren's Hospice.