Becky’s mother, Karen, died from a brain tumour when Becky was fourteen. She and her father, Mark, talk about the support they received from Child Bereavement UK, both before and after Karen died.

   “My mum was diagnosed with brain cancer about six or seven years before she passed away,” says Becky. “In January of 2017 she went downhill and had to go into hospital. My Mum and Dad were divorced but I had been living with my Dad since November, as my mum knew she was getting worse. I went to see a counsellor at school, which wasn’t helpful, but then the doctor told my mum about Child Bereavement UK. I wasn’t sure and said: ‘But you haven’t passed away yet!’  I was only fourteen and I didn’t really understand.

 Karen went into hospital for sixteen weeks before her death in May 2017.

We had to learn to live together, learn to cope with the grief. It was just a blur, even now it’s just a blur. But Child Bereavement UK gave us somewhere to go.

 “During Karen’s illness, we were in denial really,” says Mark.  “We were thrown into it, together; I worked shifts, I was single, I had to move to a different area, Becky and I had to learn to live together again and learn to cope with the grief. It was just a blur, even now it’s just a blur. But Child Bereavement UK gave us somewhere to go.”

 I could phone Child Bereavement UK for a chat or to explain what was happening. It’s hard but we’ve found ways of coping, and Child Bereavement has helped with that. It was like a third party that could listen to how we were feeling and let a little bit of the pressure off.

 “I was turning everywhere for help; sometimes I’d make up to forty phone calls. I was off work for a few months trying to sort schools and other things, and I wasn’t getting help from anywhere. It was like: ‘You’re OK, Becky’s living with you, you don’t need help’. With Child Bereavement UK, I could phone them for a chat or to explain what was happening. It’s hard but we’ve found ways of coping, and Child Bereavement has helped with that. It’s like a third party that can listen to how we’re feeling and let a little bit of the pressure off.”

Until we went to Child Bereavement UK we weren’t getting answers from anywhere. I’d set up meetings with the school and I could see that they didn’t really know what they were doing. So, we asked Child Bereavement UK to talk to them, so they could support Becky, which was a good thing.”

  “Child Bereavement UK’s pre-bereavement one-to-sessions helped as I used to get really angry,” says Becky. “I planned mum’s funeral and I talked about that with the bereavement support practitioner. I found it difficult to do things that were nice for me because I felt I shouldn’t. Child Bereavement UK helped me understand that it was OK.”

 “They gave you tools that you could use when you felt bad,” says Mark. “Becky doesn’t talk to me about everything, but the bereavement support practitioner lets me know that she’s OK although everything they talked about was private. I phoned Child Bereavement UK on numerous occasions saying, ‘This has happened, and I don’t know what to do’. They gave me ways to cope, I felt like they were there for us and were part of the family.”

 In addition to the one-to-one sessions, Becky attended Child Bereavement UK’s Groups for Young People.

 “When I first came, before she passed away, I didn’t like it because I didn’t feel I fitted in,” recalls Becky.

“I remember I took you,” says Mark. “You felt the other young people weren’t like you as your mum was poorly, but she was still here.”

 At the Group for Young People, we don’t always speak about our bereavements, but we know that everyone is going through the same thing, so we all understand each other.

 “I didn’t feel I had to come because I didn’t want to believe it would happen. But after she died, I realised that going helped me. At the group I met people who were like me. Before it happened, I didn’t know anyone who had ever gone through it; no-one in my year, none of my friends. I couldn’t really speak to my friends because they couldn’t understand. I met one girl at the group, and we did a presentation together, and since then we’ve become friends and text each other regularly. At the group we don’t always speak about our bereavements, but we know that everyone is going through the same thing, so we all understand each other.”

 The group was also helpful to Mark.

 “I met another Dad and we spoke for two hours. He had a daughter too and we both found it helpful to talk.  I really needed to talk; it’s been a massive thing for me, I sometimes crack up and wonder how I’ll cope but I’ve got to do it.”

Both Mark and Becky feel that Child Bereavement UK has helped them cope with their grief and enabled them to forge a closer relationship.

 I’d say to other bereaved people, don’t keep it all in, you’re not alone, find someone you can trust to say everything to, like Child Bereavement UK.

 “I’d say to other bereaved people, don’t keep it all in, you’re not alone, find someone you can trust to say everything to, like Child Bereavement UK,” says Becky. “A guy in my year was bereaved and I texted him and told him there were people he could speak to and a group he could come to.”

 “You’ve just got to sit and talk to people who you can gain a bit of trust with,” says Mark. “Child Bereavement UK put you at ease. They’ve done so much for us and now we fundraise for the charity. If they hadn’t been there, I think I would have cracked up what with working and supporting Becky. Now we make time to do something with each other every week, like going for a meal or running together. It’s brought us a lot closer together, it’s calming, and we can talk about anything.”