At City Hospice, we provide a counselling service to patients and their families, including their children, to help them deal with the diagnosis of a life threatening condition. Bereavement support is offered to all family members in the form of individual counselling, telephone support, a monthly coffee morning or group support. When group sessions end the members often decide to meet up outside of City Hospice to continue to support each other.
In January 2019 one such group came together for the first time and Maurice tells their story:
“It was two weeks into the New Year of 2020. We were sitting around a table in a local pub chatting about the Christmases we’d enjoyed. Mostly with family, some travelling across the country or abroad. There were smiles, laughter and shared news of friends who hadn’t been able to join that day. A very ordinary group. But it hasn’t always been like that:
Exactly twelve months before that day this same group had met for the first time; sitting in a timid circle in the day room of the City Hospice
We had all suffered the loss of our beloved husbands or wives in the previous few months. Life was really difficult for us all.
Having had one to one counselling by the hospice team we were brought together for the first time in a group session. The session was led by Sarah Bull, Head of Counselling at the Hospice. Sarah encouraged us to talk about our feelings and experiences. Some talked, many cried some were too distraught to speak. Many wondered why they were there and what good could it do for them in their hopeless state; but we all persevered, ate lemon cake, drank tea and shared our sadness.
The sessions continued on a weekly basis. As we became comfortable with each we openly shared our feelings and fears, taking comfort from realising our emotions were normal and common to the group. Most significantly a natural mutual support for each other developed.
After 6 sessions Sarah encouraged us to move away from the Hospice setting but maintain our group meetings in the real world. Over the coming weeks we met in a pub, at Roath Park in the spring and Cardiff Bay in the summer.
One year on we now meet once a week in a pub close to the City Hospice. We have set up our own Whatsapp site that we use for mutual support and to share news too. The group has allowed us to chat to others who really understand each other’s pain and we probably share worries that we wouldn’t with anyone else. We have all started to get our confidence back slowly and done things we probably wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago such as moving jobs, house etc. We socialise together including cinema trips and charity events. Several of us have directed lots of our energy into volunteering for City Hospice and are enjoying getting involved in all sorts of events and tasks!!
The bond between us is the loss of our partners.
We all share the enormity of that loss and whilst we all continue on this bumpy journey, with the support we continue to give each other we’ve realised we can live fulfilling lives. Maybe not the lives we’d planned. We can even laugh together. We’ve become true friends. What a difference in a year !
Thanks to City Hospice from All of the BFGs x (Bereavement Friendship Group!) .
You brought us together at a time when we needed each other most”.
Sarah Bull, Head of the Counselling Service recently met with the group one year on and said:
“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the change in how people are feeling, having had support through counselling or group sessions.
Meeting the BFG group ‘one year on’ was incredible! It’s so rewarding to see that by giving the group members the wonderful opportunity to meet they still continue to support each other .
It was clearly evident whilst chatting individually to the group how much everyone appears to not only value but trust one another. What a proud moment and a privilege to have been part of the group’s ongoing journey”.
To find out more about the Bereavement support offered at City Hospice please click here