At some time in our lives, we will all have the experience of being bereaved. Losing a loved one can be one of the most devastating and painful events that we ever go through, and while there are many theories about the different stages and processes of grief, everyone’s individual experience will be very different. There is no “right way” to grieve, and no road map showing an identical route for everyone. Those who are bereaved report having a wide range of emotions; these can include anger, guilt, relief, sadness, despair and feeling numb.
Often, people who are bereaved find that the support they receive from family and friends is enough to help them cope with their grief. Practical help can be invaluable, as can lending a listening ear. However, sometimes this help isn’t enough, especially if individuals are finding it more difficult to manage their emotions around the death of their loved one, or if they don’t want to share their feelings with friends and family.
Here at Peace Hospice Care we offer a number of different support services, which are all free of charge, to anyone who has been bereaved at any time in their lives. Our trained volunteers are available to offer telephone support in the early weeks after a bereavement, and a drop-in group for the newly bereaved is coming soon. Specialist bereavement counselling over eight weekly sessions is also available to those who are finding it harder to cope and who would like to explore their emotions in more depth. When Covid-19 restrictions are lifted fully we will also be able to return to offering a number of different therapeutic and creative groups, which provide opportunities to find support and understanding with others who have undergone similar experiences. For those who have lost partners in later life, our popular Doves club meet once a month at the Toby Carvery for the chance to socialise and build new friendships.
In recent months, those who have lost loved ones due to Covid-19 are likely to have had a more difficult and traumatic experience than in more normal circumstances. Having limited contact with a loved one while they are in hospital being nursed by medical staff in full PPE can feel surreal, and the sense of numbness can be more intense. Not having the chance to say goodbye is deeply upsetting for many, and the restrictions on funerals can add to the feeling of being denied the opportunity to properly pay respects and honour the person who has died. Those who were bereaved during the height of the lockdown may also have suffered from the loss of contact from relatives and friends who would otherwise have been offering support. The abnormality of life under lockdown, combined with the sudden and traumatic death of a loved one may complicate and prolong the process of grieving. In order to support those who have experienced the loss of a loved one due to Covid-19, Peace Hospice Care are intending to run a therapeutic group in the near future. If you are interested in being part of this group, please contact Laura Smith on the number below.
Although our face to face counselling was paused during lockdown, we have continued to support those who need our service via telephone and other forms of remote counselling, eg via Zoom. This has enabled us to work flexibly and effectively with many members of the local community who have really benefited from our continuing support during this challenging time.
If you would like to talk to someone about bereavement services at Peace Hospice Care, please get in touch with Laura Smith, our Bereavement and Counselling Coordinator, on: 01923 330 330.