Annika aged 39 first heard about Cruse Bereavement Care nine years ago when her GP referred her to her local Cruse service six months after her mum suddenly died. Now Annika is one of the Operations Managers at Cruse’s Central Office in Richmond.
Annika says: “My mum was only 50 years old when she died suddenly. It was a real shock to me and my brother and sister and we found it very difficult to come to terms with her death.
“My mum lived in Estonia and all my family are there, so once I returned to London after the funeral I felt very alone, confused, angry and lots of other very strong feelings. I had close friends who were very supportive however the hour I got to spend with my Cruse volunteer made me feel safe, helped me work through my feelings and face the world for another week.
“I had eight sessions with a Cruse bereavement volunteer over three and a half months. One of the things I remember is talking about some unanswered questions I had for my mum and how my volunteer suggested I write a letter to my mum explaining how I felt. I was reluctant to do it at first however once I had put my feelings down it helped me move on.
“I would absolutely recommend people to get support from Cruse after a bereavement. It really helped me at the time to make sense of my feelings, find ways to cope and to accept the way my world had changed .
“When I saw a job advertised at Cruse I straight away felt that this was an organisation I would love to work for. This was partly because of what I had gone through and the support I received and partly because I really wanted to be able to play a little part in ensuring others could benefit from this support.
“I first joined Cruse in February 2012, two years after I had had support. I joined as an Area Support Manager but have been working in the Operations Manager role for the past three years working with Areas across South East and South to support with increasing income, service development, quality assurance and profile raising. I currently lead on work to deliver the BBC Children in Need project which we received funding for earlier this year.”
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