Hannah and her sons, Joshua (aged 11) and Sam (9) received support from Cruse after their dad died from a brain tumour. In tribute to their dad, Joshua and Sam decided to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest (29,029ft) over the summer holidays and hiked seven mountains in 10 days, climbing a total of 30,000ft and 50 miles! They have also raised almost £7,000 for Cruse Bereavement Care.
Hannah says: “We were told about Cruse by the driver of the limousine at my husband, Neil’s funeral. He told me that he had lost his wife and Cruse was the one thing that kept him and his children going.
“About a month after Neil passed away I contacted Cruse to ask for support. There was a waiting list for both adults and children, so there was a delay in getting help. Those weeks were so hard as I had no idea how to help the boys. Grief is such a complex and individual thing that I just felt like I was failing.
"We were supported for around 6 months over a number of sessions that took place at home.”
Joshua and Sam, said: “When Kate, our bereavement volunteer first came to our house she was really nice and kind to us. It was really good to have someone to talk to as our friends didn’t understand. It was good with Kate because we did lots of fun things with her and she listened to all of our worries. There was no-one else in the room so we could talk to her about whatever we wanted to. We talked about memories and how we felt. If we got sad she gave us hugs. Kate gives great hugs! Because she came to our house it made us feel like we were very safe and we were allowed to talk in a way you couldn’t with anyone else. Kate has a lot of experience helping children, as she is a teacher too. It was great knowing she wasn’t going to tell anyone else our worries and help us sort them out, because we didn’t want to trouble mum. She came every week for a long time, even if the weather was awful. We miss her because she was such a lovely person, but we understand she has a lot of families to help.
“Kate was positive, funny and kind. She had a warm smile and we felt like she really cared about us. She knew instinctively what we needed. We were able to talk to her about things we didn’t want to talk to other people about.”
Hannah says: “The boys and I have always been open about their dad’s illness and death. I tried to help, read books and spoke to numerous counsellors, but there is no manual for how an individual child will react, how they will cope. Kate was a god send because she was able to work with each of the boys individually and give them an opportunity to talk without upsetting anyone. It’s hard not to always be crying in the first six months of bereavement. I was crying for them losing their dad, for the memories that would fade, for the future they didn’t have with him and the impact it was having on them. It’s so hard to see you children in so much pain and to be unable to help. Kate was a lifeline. Honestly, she kept the kids and I afloat in the darkest times. The time when most people move on with their busy lives and the reality of what has happened starts to really sink in. It was a lonely time.
Joshua and Sam said: “Kate and Cruse really helped us move forward, but we also realised it was really hard to get support as we were children. Mum told us that there are waiting lists and we don’t want any other children to ever have to wait for help.
Hannah said: “The help we received was invaluable because when it happens you have no idea what to do. I was stunned with the waiting lists and we wanted to raise awareness and money to make sure all children and their parents get the help they need.”
You can sponsor Joshua and Sam on their Virgin Money Giving page.
Read more 60 Voices, here.