Child Bereavement UK didn’t push too much. They just gave Sophie time to say what she wanted to say.

Pip’s husband, Clive, died from mesothelioma when her daughter, Sophie, was 12 and her son, Jordan, was 18. She and Sophie talk about how they were supported by Child Bereavement UK.

Pip:

Clive was a superfit builder and became ill suddenly. He was a very private man and didn’t want everyone to know he was unwell. I decided to care for Clive at home as he didn’t really want to go to a hospice and I’m a very practical person.

I felt that if their Dad was at home, the children would know what was going on. It also gave them the opportunity to be with Clive as much as possible. My mother was ill for most of my childhood and my brother and I were told everything was alright, but we knew it wasn’t. 

We managed the first year after Clive’s death by ourselves but then Sophie decided she didn’t want to go to school. She started missing odd days, then she just stayed in bed and pretty much stayed there for the next year. The school offered a counsellor, but they were someone we knew, and the counsellor offered by the local authority was also someone Sophie knew through school.

Someone suggested we try Child Bereavement UK. We had a chat on the phone and then Sophie started one-to-one sessions with a bereavement support practitioner before joining their Groups for Young People. Sophie is a bit of a loner and quite shy so sometimes we had to persuade her to go, but we never had to force her. The journey to the sessions was a chance for us to talk which was nice and, during Sophie’s sessions, I got a mental space for myself.

Coming to Child Bereavement UK gave Sophie another adult to talk to. She didn’t want to bother anyone at school, even though there were other children who had lost relatives. Children can be unkind; you don’t want to put your story on 'show' just for someone to knock it down, that could hurt even more. Child Bereavement UK didn’t push too much. They just gave Sophie time to say what she wanted to say. 

 

Sophie

I came to Child Bereavement UK a little bit after my Dad died for one-to-one sessions. The bereavement support practitioner knew I didn’t like one-to-one conversations. I don’t mind it now but then I didn’t want to talk. She used to get me to do some colouring during my appointments, it made it easier not to have to make eye contact.

She asked me if I’d like to join their Groups for Young People as I didn’t particularly enjoy the one-to-one sessions. I decided to join as you do fun things, get pizza and you don’t always have to talk about the person who died. You can gel with other people who are in the same situation as you. Most of the time we’d come together and other times I’d just go off and do my own thing.

Child Bereavement UK’s Groups for Young People are a place away from school and people who aren’t in the same situation as me.  It was a relief to come to a place where no-one would make comments like: ‘What did you do with your Dad last week?’ which is what happens at school, not because people want to taunt me but because they don’t think.