Rita shares her bereavement journey with us following the death of her beloved husband, Nigel

Nigel had taken care of me my whole life, in so many different ways. I didn’t realise how reliant I was on him until he was no longer here. I wasn’t prepared for life without him and didn’t really know how to begin. Trivial things like using the computer, online banking, odd jobs that may have needed fixing in the house… each task carried an immense weight for the first time.

I have received excellent pre-bereavement and post-bereavement counselling through St Raphael’s Psychological Support Services. I have also joined a number of their bereavement group lunches which have been very helpful and enjoyable. I have met such lovely, kind people.

Rita with new friends (top row, 2nd from left)

Shortly after Nigel passed, I anxiously decided to walk into St Raphael’s Wellbeing Centre. I was seeking support and friendship. The most wonderful team with arms wide open welcomed me and so effortlessly calmed my nerves. It soon became a space that I would frequently visit for companionship, armchair yoga and professional talks on topics such as sleeplessness. I enjoyed meaningful chats over cups of tea with others in the community who were also in need of a comforting space. Slowly, after each visit, my confidence began to grow.

These sessions of self-care paired with love, patience and guidance shared by the people in my life have helped me get to this point today. Looking back now, I can see the mountains I have moved since I first walked through the Hospice doors. I would not have coped without this level of support. I am proud to say that I have built up my confidence to work part time as a volunteer in a hospital, which I thoroughly enjoy. I have found a sense of purpose working in something that honours our journey.

"I thank St Raphael’s for their compassion, expertise and support in helping me gain confidence through my bereavement – helping me to re-enter the world again on my own two feet. The Hospice came into my life to care for Nigel yet I am privileged to have been cared for and supported by them too, each step of the way."

Read about Rita and Nigel's journey

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