Stephen's LivingGrief Story

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 contacted St Elizabeth Hospice’s LivingGrief service, as I thought speaking with a group about Dad and memories I had of him, would be helpful to me,” said Stephen, whose father, Raymond Stokes died in 2023 aged 90-years-old.

“He came from a railway family, with generations of steam engine drivers. Dad, himself, was a fireman on the railway before he ended up working for Shell. Outside of work he loved his garden and used to show flowers at flower shows – so I had plenty of interesting memories to share with the group.

“I had no real expectations from what the service would provide but I hoped I may pick something up. I really believe that being in a group with other people going through similar experiences to yourself was very beneficial, with the LivingGrief team providing guidance and advice whenever needed,” explained Stephen Stokes of Martlesham, who is a LivingGrief service user.

“In fact, as a group, we set up our own WhatsApp group to support one another outside of the LivingGrief group sessions. Over the course of group sessions you could really see the group become closer and people, who were initially quieter, gained confidence as we shared stories and experiences.

“You really felt you were not alone and there are support networks out there for you, if you needed them, depending on how you felt. It was really useful having people to talk to, who had understanding of what you were feeling, but who were outside of your own friends and family.

“Now we have the group established, we have plans for future meet-ups and potentially will attend one of the hospice’s Walk On bereavement support walking groups.

“I would encourage anyone to reach out to the LivingGrief team, if they feel they could benefit from their support. Something as simple as having a conversation and having somebody to listen, can make such a difference during a difficult time.”

For more information about St Elizabeth Hospice’s LivingGrief services visit

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