Rachel's Hospice Story

Every year St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 3,000 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, the hospice provides a range of emotional and wellbeing support through its bereavement support service, LivingGrief. Via face-to-face consultations or phone and video call support, between January and July 2023 alone, more than 450 people have been referred to this service.

One person who received support from the hospice’s emotional and wellbeing team in 2023, is Rachel Cooper whose mum, Anna Cooper, received end-of-life support from St Elizabeth Hospice before her death in January 2022.

Rachel, who lives in Ipswich, said: “Mum was a very kind, loving person, who always thought the best of people. She loved helping people and being outdoors in the countryside with animals and was someone I always aspired to be like.

“St Elizabeth Hospice gave Mum brilliant care and they also offered to provide further bereavement support, via their LivingGrief service, to my brother, my sister and myself – if we ever needed it.

“Before our own experience of the hospice, as a family, we were not fully aware of the range of services they provided but it felt so reassuring to know they could support Mum as well as our whole family.

“I began using the LivingGrief service when I was 20-years-old (in 2022). Initially I had one-to-one sessions once a month, before we eventually moved to once every eight weeks.

“The LivingGrief team are fantastic and so supportive. Our sessions had lots of tears and laughter, but at the heart of LivingGrief is care and support, which helps you realise you are not alone.

“While I was receiving support from LivingGrief, I mentioned to the team that I didn’t know anyone else who was a similar age to me, who had also lost a parent.

“This led to the LivingGrief team, through the hospice’s 565 Service emotional support for young adults, facilitating their first young adult group support network, for people with similar experiences to come together and share their stories and thoughts.

“I attended between April and June 2023 and found the group so helpful. Although we were all at different stages of grief, and with loses of different family members, it was nice to be in a group with other people who knew how you felt and who you could relate to easily.

“The group met once a week for up to an hour and half, and each week had a difference focus, such as anxiety and the grief process. It was just really nice to be a part of and I am still in touch with people I met at the group.

“Before LivingGrief I felt confused about how I was supposed to feel and how I actually felt. Also, as the oldest sibling, I felt pressure from myself to take on responsibility to support my siblings.

“Now, thanks to the team, I understand there is no right or wrong way to feel about grief and they have given me advice to help approaching the pressure I felt from myself.

“LivingGrief has helped me grow as a person and I feel more confident in approaching the years to come.

“The LivingGrief team are completely judgement free, fantastic listeners and easy to talk to and open up to. I cannot say a bad thing about them.

“I am passionate that more people know this important service exists, as I believe LivingGrief can be of great help to many more people.”

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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