Our Bereavement Support service is celebrating its first birthday following a successful year.
The service is designed to provide advice and guidance to families and friends following the loss of a loved one from cancer.
It adds to existing services for bereaved people whose loved ones received cancer treatment in The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre or other west of Scotland hospitals.
The aim of the group programme is to support people in living a rich and meaningful life alongside their pain and grief. The group is focused on providing people with a better understanding of the grieving process; helping them develop skills to manage the difficult thoughts and feelings that can arise in grief; and provide them the space to reconnect with what matters most to them.
37-year old Patrick Baines from Glasgow got in touch with our Bereavement Support service team this year following the death of his mum and sister within less than a year of each other.
Patrick’s mum was diagnosed with cancer in April last year and sadly died just a matter of weeks later. His sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 while in her early forties and died in February this year.
Patrick said: “My mother became quite unwell and to begin with it was hospital visits, she was taken home and everything was okay.
“But then it soon became apparent that she wasn’t going to be okay. Mum passed away quite quickly which was really tough considering I’d just become a father to twins.
“Six months later my sister Emma, who had been fighting a long six-year battle with breast cancer, was taken to a hospice. She fought and fought right to the end and passed away.
“Quite recently I lost my grandmother as well, so it’s been a really tough time so to have the opportunity to speak with people that have been going through similarly tough times with the bereavement meetups was really valuable.”
Patrick explained the group support sessions were something he was keen to try after exploring other options.
He continued: “I’d spoken to a couple of therapists who work on a one-to-one basis and didn’t really enjoy speaking to a laptop screen through Zoom – it just didn’t work for me.
“I saw a social media post about a bereavement group session which made more sense for me.
“I’m very much a people person. To have that security blanket of other people there was a real plus point.
“I felt like an hour was a long time in one-to-one sessions, but I never felt like I was clock watching in group sessions – it was the very opposite, two hours had gone too quickly.
“The group session was lovely because you had a chance to speak but you also had a chance to listen.
“The lovely people that I was with who were all going through really tough times would every now and again say something that would really resonate and that would really strike a chord.”
Patrick said he would recommend the Bereavement Support service to anyone going through loss.
He said: “In the first few months when you lose someone, everything is so fresh and new and you don’t know what to do. I was getting quite angry at times and exasperated as well and the anger would build.
“The group sessions really helped. It’s been lovely, we’ve all set up a little WhatsApp group since the last session and it’s just nice to keep in touch with people.
“I’d say just be open minded – it's hard to be open minded when you feel rubbish and to give things a try but I did and I’m really grateful that I did.
“You meet some very qualified and very lovely people who are there to help and to be there for you.
“I couldn’t recommend it enough. For anybody that is going through a really tough time, I would recommend you give it a try.
“It’s just a relaxed, calm, peaceful and friendly environment and somewhere you can just switch off for a couple of hours and be yourself.”
Call 0141 212 0505 and ask to speak to someone about our Bereavement Support service or email Bereavementsupport@beatsoncancercharity.org.