Michael's LivingGrief Story

“I didn’t know what to expect, but over the course of five weeks receiving support from LivingGrief, I felt better both physically and mentally,” explained Michael Abbott of Ipswich, who is a LivingGrief service user.

Every year St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 4,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney. This care sees the independent Suffolk charity providing free services – whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice – to those living with a progressive or life-limiting illness.

As well as clinical care, we provide a range of emotional and wellbeing support through our bereavement support service, LivingGrief. Via face-to-face consultations or phone and video call support, between April 2022 and September 2023 alone, more than 1,880 people have been supported by this service.

“I first learnt about LivingGrief when my wife was receiving support from the hospice team in 2023,” said Michael.

“We had support from the hospice’s community team and they helped Sarah remain at home for as long as possible, which was her wish. After her death, I was provided with an information pack which included reference to the wider care the hospice provides to the whole family, such as LivingGrief, which I was not previously aware of.

“I contacted LivingGrief in June and I have since attended a number of face-to-face groups which have been very beneficial. The LivingGrief groups have shown me the importance of talking to people and listening to each other.

“I was surprised how well the group worked and how well it came together. We left as really good friends and it really has made me feel so much better – and I can sleep easier, which had been difficult.

“LivingGrief has shown me that you will have good days and bad days, but that is fine, and I have found the process has helped clear the brain fog a little.

“As part of the groups we shared our own experiences, how we felt and what we were going through.

“I was initially a little apprehensive about the groups but having people who are in a similar boat to you and who understand you, has really helped. We actually set up our own WhatsApp group to help one another outside of the organised groups and have made plans to have meet ups.

“LivingGrief really has provided me with a support network and it is reassuring to know that I can always get in contact with the team if I ever need more support, whether that be counselling, a phone call or even just attending one of the hospice’s Walk On bereavement support walking groups.

“At the hospice everybody is so kind, I cannot fault the place. They supported me so much and I wanted to support them a little, so I now volunteer once a week in their Moments Coffee Shop, at Ipswich Town Hall.

“Even with volunteering they look after you so well. The whole ethos of the hospice is understanding and compassion, and volunteering has been brilliant for giving me a little bit of respite and the chance to meet new people and learn new skills.

“I would encourage anyone who thinks they could benefit from LivingGrief to approach the hospice. For myself, it has been a tough journey but the hospice and LivingGrief team have been there for me, making it a little easier.”

For more information about St Elizabeth Hospice’s LivingGrief services visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/information-and-support/bereavement-support/

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