Many people who visit the Hospice of the Good Shepherd are surprised at the wide range of services and support we offer to our patients and their families. Many people think that a Hospice is somewhere people just go to spend their last few days, however we offer so much more. Part of our service is to care for and support family members as well as patients and this care is delivered by our Family Support team. This includes the award-winning West Cheshire Bereavement Service and Reflect Children and Young People’s Bereavement Service. Both services provide bereavement support and counselling for adults and children in the West Cheshire area.
When Ron’s wife Barbara died in Arrowe Park Hospital in July 2015 he had no idea why he had been contacted by a counsellor at the Hospice and thought it was a mistake. We explained that some of the different support services were concerned for his welfare since his wife died. Ron said that as far as he was concerned he felt as if his life had ended when Barbara died and that he just wanted to go to sleep and not wake up.
Fast forward 4 years and Ron is sitting in the Hospice café with Carol Jones one of our Bereavement Support team eating a large piece of Victoria sponge talking about his about his experience of bereavement counselling. Ron said;
“I had no idea what to expect and honestly felt that when Barbara died I died as I didn’t see a future without her. We did everything together. I’d never spoken to anyone in my life about my feelings except Barbara and I thought what was the point of coming to talk to a counsellor.”
Ron went on to say how he found the first few sessions difficult talking about his loss but then began understand that some of his thoughts and feelings, whilst painful, were normal and part of his grief.
As Ron began to come to terms with Barbara’s death he spoke about loneliness and Carol discussed the various groups that Ron could join to meet other people who were bereaved. By the time the sessions had ended Ron had become a regular attendee at Widows and Widowers of Chester. Ron said;
“I can remember getting to the door and then getting back in my car but I’m glad I persevered and I’m glad I came to counselling.”
Ron now regularly returns to the Hospice café with friends he has met at the group and occasionally calls in for his breakfast. Ron was delighted to tell Carol all about his various days out and how he has achieved a lifelong ambition of becoming a watching member of Cheshire Polo Club. He said he will always be grateful for the support he received from the bereavement service.