And the care wasn’t only for Jerry. The staff were wonderful to me as well. They never stopped caring for me.
“Following Jerry’s death, I was put in contact with Rob Hairsine, one of the team’s specialist counsellors. I didn’t have any expectations; I would just call up and talk. Somehow, Rob helped me to unravel all my difficult feelings, including the anger. Jerry and I had lived a simple life on our boat most of the time, and when all that came crashing down it was an absolutely horrendous time.
I had lost close family members before, but never so many people in such a short space of time. At the time of my brother’s death many years ago, I wasn’t offered any kind of professional support. It’s so different when you lose a family member in hospital; you’re sent home to somehow pick up the pieces on your own. St. Gemma’s don’t do that, they were there for me.
I spoke to Rob once a week for five weeks in early 2021, then in the April my Mum died in hospital. She was too poorly to move to St Gemma’s. Then I lost a very close uncle in the October. I came out of those three consecutive bereavements with lots of things going round my head, so I wanted to speak to a professional again and reached out to St. Gemma’s. Rob explained that it’s not a closed door and the Hospice is still here if I need help at any point in the future, so I had five more sessions. You take quite a knock being bereaved, and Rob helped me find the strength that I knew deep down was there.
Grief is a terrible thing and there is no manual. Nobody says ‘Right, in a few weeks you’ll feel like this, and then you’ll feel like that…’ but it’s ok to accept that uncertainty. A few years ago, discussing personal things wouldn’t come naturally to me, but now I understand talking can be so helpful. Thanks to St. Gemma’s Bereavement Team, I feel like those dark days are fading away now and if I do have a difficult moment I can pick myself up again.”