Photo: Gavin King
The Felixstowe charity, The Hope Trust holds social groups and has speakers, to help prepare for life as an older person. In 2013 they also started to work with those facing life-ending situations or bereavement, providing a safe place to discuss grief.
Sheila Taylor became a Pastoral Worker for The Hope Trust in 2012 and commutes to Felixstowe from her home in Stowmarket. She loves a summer walk on the prom after work – and a coffee at The Alex.
She told us about the six-week bereavement support group The Hope Trust runs, twice yearly.
“It is a safe place for people to discuss their grief. ‘Is the way I am feeling all right?’ Families and friends often think they should be ‘getting over it’ at a time when people are facing greatest challenge.
We had one lady and for six months she had handled everything brilliantly but at six months the shock wore off, but everyone else was further on their grief journey and she was stymied.
We give them the language to use and permission to express how they are feeling…'Why am I lonely, why am I angry, why do I feel guilty?'
In the last session we talk about what do I do now? Life isn’t going to be the same as it was and how am I to go forward? What can I do to make it the best life, when I feel a bit stronger and braver?"
Compassionate Conversations is a free awareness training session delivered by St Elizabeth Hospice.
It is aimed at helping people (aged 18+) build the skills and confidence to enable open, honest and sensitive conversations around end of life, loss and bereavement, whilst identifying ways to help and support others.
“To anyone considering Compassionate Conversation training, I would say do it. Most of us have experienced loss of one sort or another and to be equipped to know how to talk to somebody is really important. We have a very British reserve and don’t like doing this in case we make someone cry or we upset them. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear. You can learn about things you can ask, good ways to help, and how to engage in conversation. Perhaps someone has had life- limiting news - how do you engage with somebody like that? Their gift is time – but where do you start? You will feel so much better if you know what to say.”