Lucy’s husband, Nick, died by suicide when their daughter, Amy, was 11 and son, Matthew, was 8. Nick was a keen rugby league player as are Amy and Matthew. Lucy and the children (now aged 14 and 10) talk about the support they received from Child Bereavement

“When Nick died, I was keen that what happened shouldn’t define the children,” says Lucy. “Amy was really angry and didn’t know who to cope with what had happened. She was really struggling and was hitting out. Matthew had been to another counselling service, but it hadn’t done anything for him – it was probably too soon.”

“It was Amy’s school that told us about Child Bereavement UK. Amy came for one-to-one sessions with a bereavement support practitioner. I stayed for the first few sessions but then she went by herself. She could talk about whatever she wanted and didn’t have to tell me about it. Matthew had a few one-to-one sessions but he wasn’t ready for it, so we joined the family support group which was a big help for him.”

“I liked the family sessions as you were there with people who had been through the same thing as you,” says Matthew. “We did crafts and activities and sometimes had free time together.”

 I felt like nobody knew what I was going through and that I was the only one in my situation. You’ve got your school friends, but they don’t really understand what is going on in your life. At the group for young people, I could talk to anyone and they’d sit and listen and understand what I was going through. It’s easier to talk to people at Child Bereavement UK than to your school friends.

Following the one-to-one sessions, Amy also started to attend the group for young people:

“I felt like nobody knew what I was going through and that I was the only one in my situation. You’ve got your school friends, but they don’t really understand what is going on in your life,” she says. “At the group I could talk to anyone and they’d sit and listen and understand what I was going through. It’s easier to talk to people at Child Bereavement UK than to your school friends.

With the group I’ve been bowling and to the theatre and cinema. I’ve also been part of a project to talk about how schools can help bereaved young people. I’m a Child Bereavement UK Youth Ambassador now; when new people join, I talk to them and introduce them to everyone. In February, I went to Northern Ireland to talk to young people affected by bereavement who are supported by an organisation in Derry. Child Bereavement UK is doing a project with them and we are hosting them later in the year.”

I’d definitely tell another family in our situation to seek help. I was a bit dubious to start with. I thought: ‘What difference will it make?’ But now I’d absolutely say get help and just talk. 

“I’d definitely tell another family in our situation to seek help,” says Lucy. “I was a bit dubious to start with. I thought ‘What difference will it make?’ But now I’d absolutely say get help and just talk. Amy is completely different to how she was, she has coping mechanisms. Matthew has faced up to the fact that has dad has died, which was tricky for him, rather than bottling it up so that we have trouble in years to come. It’s become something that’s happened rather than something that defines us.

I would definitely recommend Child Bereavement UK. The whole environment is good - you can just be yourself. The staff and the one-to-one sessions are great, and the family support group is amazing. Between appointments, I can just ring up for advice about something that’s happened with the children – they’ll bend over backwards to help you.

I would definitely recommend Child Bereavement UK. The whole environment is good - you can just be yourself. The staff and the one-to-one sessions are great, and the family support group is amazing. Between appointments, I can just ring up for advice about something that’s happened with the children – they’ll bend over backwards to help you.”

“I’d tell other young people in the same situation as me to talk about it,” says Amy. “It seems really hard to start off with, but, when you start to talk to other people about it, you might feel upset, but they’ll know the reason why and they’ll comfort you.

 If you come to Child Bereavement UK and you say something, nobody judges you. They don’t make fun of you; they just sit and listen. You can say something to anyone without feeling: ‘I can’t say this, or I can’t say that’, because I don’t know what they’ll think of me.

“If you come to Child Bereavement UK and you say something, nobody judges you. They don’t make fun of you; they just sit and listen. You can say something to anyone without feeling: ‘I can’t say this, or I can’t say that, because I don’t know what they’ll think of me.’”