John and Lorraine recently got married, after meeting at Cruse Bereavement Care’s Beyond Words Friendship Group in Northern Ireland in 2017 after both being bereaved. They praise the support they received from Cruse and say it has helped them to find hope again and start a new life together.
John, 61 from Belfast, says: “I found out about Cruse by accident really, I came across an event Cruse Belfast was holding in the Ulster Hall while trying to get through yet another day.
“It was almost a year to the day that my wife, Eileen passed away. I joined the Beyond Words Friendship Group, became a regular attender and then a volunteer over the past four years.
“The support I received at the Friendship Group from both other members and volunteers was invaluable in my recovery after the loss of my wife. It was such a relief to have someone to talk to that understood what I was feeling. I had not spoken to anyone in the whole of that first year after Eileen died.
“It was a few months after my cancer surgery in 2017 that I returned to the group. As well as the old friends I noticed that a new dark haired lady had joined the group. I did not know it then but we were to fall in love over the next few months. We got engaged in January 2018 and married in June 2019.
“I could not recommend Cruse Bereavement Care more highly. Through Cruse I learned to build a new life around those feelings of sorrow and loss. They will never go away but they can become part of your life in a positive way by talking about them with others in the groups. That way we can help and support each other."
Lorraine, aged 55 also lives in Belfast. She got in contact with Cruse Bereavement Care after her mother died in 2016.
Lorraine, says: “My doctor told me about Cruse when he was treating me for depression after my mother Agnes passed away. I got in contact with them about four months after my mother died. My doctor arranged for me to attend six weeks of professional counselling.
“It took about three weeks before I was able to open up and begin to talk about how I felt. Then I found it was such a relief to talk about my grief to someone and more than that to someone who would listen and understand what I was going through.
“After the counselling I was told about Cruse's Beyond Words Friendship Group. I had been going for about four months and found the group very supportive. I was making new friends, talking and sharing my memories of mum with the group.
“I did not go to the group expecting to find someone but it was there I met John and fell in love.
“I would most definitely recommend Cruse Bereavement Care to anyone who has been bereaved. Just having someone to listen to you and understand what you are going through is the best support. Through meeting other bereaved people in the groups you learn that it is possible to see a new life growing around your feelings of sorrow and loss.”
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