‘A truly valuable service’
When someone who is important to us dies, it can leave a huge space in our lives and with this can come new and difficult emotions. At St Wilfrid’s Hospice, we continue to support our patients’ families and loved ones after they have died by offering one-to-one bereavement counselling. This is also available to anyone living in our catchment area who is bereaved.
On the 24th September 2021, Pete Constanti lost his mum, Maureen, just 50 days after bringing her home having received her terminal cancer diagnosis. In this blog post, Pete has shared his mum’s story and why he chose to access bereavement support.
‘After my mum received her terminal cancer diagnosis last year she was supported by the St Wilfrid’s Care at Home Team. On getting this awful news, Mum’s only wish was to be at home with her dog Benji and her family. From the very first moment I contacted St Wilfrid’s they were amazing, and it was only down to the team, or “the ladies” as they very affectionately became known, that we were able to achieve Mum’s wish.
‘Mum was 79 when she died, but she was a very young 79. She was full of life, very forward thinking and fun-loving. She was living in Bishopstone when she died, but she had previously lived in Brighton Marina and loved being part of the community. She was into the drag scene, and for 15 years she volunteered for the Sussex Beacon – a charity which supports people living with HIV.
‘Mum loved all things sparkly, going out with family and friends, and having a drink. She never lost any of that. I was with her every day from the day she received her diagnosis and each day we’d always have a drink together at around 6pm. God forbid what would have happened if we had asked her to drink out of a beaker when she got really ill, so we tried to find the most stylish plastic glasses we could!
‘Throughout the time Mum was cared for, it was often touched upon that there was extra support available for us. This included the Bereavement Support Service. Mum’s death affected me hugely, so if there was anything that was going to help me process what I was feeling, why wouldn’t I try it? We had received amazing support throughout her illness, so I am extremely grateful that it has continued.
‘I had six counselling sessions and found them to be hugely beneficial. Being able to tell Mum’s story brought back a lot of emotions, not just from the last few months, but from her whole journey. It reminded me of lots of things, not that I had forgotten them, but things which weren’t at the forefront of my mind. Some were upsetting, some were very comforting, and in many ways the sessions were cathartic too. Understanding that other people had felt as I was feeling at the time was quite reassuring, although of course no one’s journey is the same. Nancy, my counsellor, would interject at points but it never felt intrusive. She helped me to articulate things that I might have been struggling to find words for.
‘I absolutely recommend the service. I appreciate that counselling isn’t for everyone, and some might feel apprehensive about giving it a go, however, my experience has been nothing but positive. It is a truly valuable service that nobody should rule out.
‘I have so much respect and gratitude for St Wilfrid’s Hospice. The care they have given my family is second to none.’
If you would like to find out more about the counselling services we offer, click here.