Susan has been a bereavement volunteer at Cruse North Hampshire for over twenty years. As well as providing face-to-face support, she also does multiple shifts a week on our National Helpline, proving a lifeline for many who need immediate support. Susan also represents the South region on our Council and is a highly valued member of the team.
“I volunteer in North Hampshire which covers a large geographical area stretching from Salisbury to Aldershot. It is an urban and rural part of the country with pockets of wealth alongside areas of poverty and deprivation. It also has two large military establishments.
“I found out about Cruse from a founder member of Andover Cruse when they came to my place of work looking for more volunteers. I was already a Samaritan and was encouraged to undertake the training to become a bereavement support volunteer over twenty years ago.
“I enjoy interacting and meeting other volunteers, especially at Cruse’s annual conference. I am lucky enough to represent the South region at the Cruse Council, which I consider a great privilege. It allows me to see the wider picture and to be involved albeit at a lower level on the future development of our charity. I get satisfaction from being given the tools to support people in times of trouble and often doing something as simple as listening to them
“One of the challenges of being a Cruse volunteer is knowing when to say no! It is continually stressful trying to raise enough funding to maintain our support for bereaved people locally. Recruiting new volunteers and encouraging existing volunteers to shoulder responsibilities within the area is also a continuing challenge.
“I have supported many people over the years but one particularly stands out. Many years ago I was allocated a young lady whose husband had suffered a traumatic death at work. Her parents were at their wits end in trying to support her. I arrived later that day to find her in complete shock, sitting hunched in the corner of the drawing room, holding her husband’s watch. We supported her through the inquest and at the yearly anniversaries. I am happy to report that she came to terms with her bereavement and has since remarried.
“Bereavement and the associated grief is not easy to acknowledge, but it is important to reassure clients that that it is a normal reaction to experience a whole range of emotions and physical symptoms following a life changing event. My advice to clients is to take their time, and remember and talk about the person who has died. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. There is always hope.
“Support from cruse following a bereavement may not be the right thing for you, but if you are suffering after a bereavement contact us as we are here to help you and your family and friends. We all experience crises in our lives and sometimes a problem shared is a problem solved.
"If you are thinking of volunteering I would encourage you to ‘go for it’ as excellent training and support is provided."