Late last year, Harry requested we tell everyone about our Bereavement Services which have made such an enormous difference to his life since the death of his beloved wife, Doreen, in 2015. We are only too happy to oblige.
The death of a loved one can be the most devastating and overwhelming experience that many of us will ever face. The grief that follows the loss is not an illness but a normal human journey – albeit very difficult and painful – that involves strong reactions. Your feelings are something you experience and not symptoms that need to be treated. This is where our Bereavement team can help.
Harry and Doreen met in 1955 on Hastings Pier, were engaged aged 17 and married in 1961. Harry was a dairy farmer in Whatlington and would cycle to Hastings after work to spend his evenings with Doreen.
Doreen became poorly and died at the Conquest Hospital, Hastings, in May 2015. As supporters of the Hospice it was decided all donations in Doreen’s memory would be given to the Hospice. A few weeks later Harry received a letter from our Bereavement team offering their support.
His son encouraged Harry to book an appointment and he met with one of our volunteer counsellors who offered ongoing counselling either on his own or as part of a group. As Harry had been feeling very alone he decided to attend a Grief Recovery with Support (GRoWS) meeting and met, initially with seven ladies (Chris, Karen, Carole, Jill, Phyllis, Dee and Sue), who had all been recently bereaved. They shared their experience and their grief and soon real friendships developed.
The GRoWS group met each month at the Hospice and Harry continues to meet with ‘his girls’ as he affectionately calls them, indeed the group has increased in numbers now, but all are firm friends and know they will support each other whenever it is needed.
Harry said attending his first GRoWS meeting was the best thing he has ever done, it helped him to realise he is not alone and has provided him with a new found joy for life. Harry also attends our Walk and Talk Group, in partnership with the Healthy Walks project, meeting twice a month in Alexandra Park, Hastings.
St Michael’s Hospice Bereavement Service is available to anyone in the Hastings and Rother area, you do not need to have a connection with the Hospice. An initial appointment can be arranged to talk through the impact of your loss and to explain the support we are able to provide you. This can include accessing the GRoWS and Walk and Talk Group as well as counselling and the bereavement support group.