Helen and her son Shaun, aged nine, were supported by Child Bereavement UK in Cumbria after her husband, Andrew, died by suicide.

 

I felt I needed to be right to support Shaun as he was having some sad days and so was I. We were just fed up of having sad days – not that they’ve ever gone away

“In 2014 my husband and Shaun’s daddy died by suicide,” says Helen. “We both had a really hard time and we were really sad. I phoned Child Bereavement UK and told them that I wasn’t coping well. I felt I needed to be right to support Shaun as he was having some sad days and so was I. We were just fed up of having sad days – not that they’ve ever gone away.

What I liked about Child Bereavement UK was that it supports the whole family and that’s what I felt we needed.

“The timing was perfect when I contacted Child Bereavement UK, because they informed me there was a family group in Cockermouth starting that weekend. We went along and did lots of activities. What I liked about Child Bereavement UK was that it supports the whole family and that’s what I felt we needed.”

“You could bring something special,” says Shaun. “I took my Dad’s chess set which was really special to me because I like chess and my Dad did. We read some books and we made a picture out of different colours of fabric that reminded you of the person who died. The colour I used was red because my Dad liked Manchester United.”

It was good just to have that space and just share and talk. You didn’t even have to talk if you didn’t what to; if you just wanted to sit there and listen to others that was absolutely fine.

“I went to the adult group session and just talked, really,” says Helen. It was good just to have that space and just share and talk. You didn’t even have to talk if you didn’t what to; if you just wanted to sit there and listen to others that was absolutely fine. But you were encouraged to join in, you were brought into the conversations. It wasn’t forced, it was all very relaxed and really well done.

“Chris, the bereavement support practitioner, came to the house and we’d refer to her as ‘Chris, the lady we talk to about Daddy’. Shaun loved it when Chris came as it not only helped him to talk but the special biscuits came out too.

I thought it was important to link in with the school. So, I kept them informed all the way through the process.  Child Bereavement UK also came to talk to the school. It meant we had a link which was good for Shaun and also for other children in the school.

I thought it was important to link in with the school, so I kept them informed all the way through the process. Child Bereavement UK also came to talk to the school. It meant we had a link which was good for Shaun and also for other children in the school.”

Coming to Child Bereavement UK really helped because I personally felt so sad and Shaun also felt so sad. It’s reassured me that you will have days that are difficult and other days that are good, and that I’m supporting Shaun the best way I possibly can and saying the right things.

“The sadness doesn’t go away. We’ve had some really tough days where we’ve both felt really sad and we’ve both cried, especially because of how it all happened and the suddenness of everything. Coming to Child Bereavement UK really helped because I personally felt so sad and Shaun also felt such sadness. It’s reassured me to know that there will be days that are more difficult than others. However, on the days that are good/better I am able to support Shaun the best way I possibly can by using coping strategies/tools that Child Bereavement UK has provided me with as well as saying the right things.”

I feel better after I see Child Bereavement UK. It helps me to talk and it makes me feel better.

“I feel better after I see Child Bereavement UK,” says Shaun. “It helps me to talk and it makes me feel better.”