Yolanda is a bereavement volunteer at our service in Manchester. After several family bereavements, Yolanda wanted to use her experience to help other bereaved people. She loves being a volunteer and takes great joy from seeing the people she supports become more hopeful as they explore and understand their own grief.
Yolanda says: “I searched online for a course to help my family and I to deal with our feelings following the loss of several family members and close friends and I came across Cruse’s one day loss and bereavement awareness course in Manchester.
“By sheer coincidence I attended the course six days after my brother’s sudden death. The course helped me to gain a greater understanding of the grieving process and I learned that what I was feeling wasn’t unnatural but was a very normal reaction to the death of a loved one. I also learned that it was important to look after myself as there was a bumpy journey ahead.
“I wanted to volunteer for Cruse because after my parents and brother died, I came to the conclusion that my purpose in life was to use my experiences of loss and bereavement to help other bereaved people. The one day loss and bereavement awareness course that I attended influenced my decision.
“I enjoy being a bereavement volunteer and seeing my clients become more hopeful as they explore and understand their grief. It is great when clients tell me about the small steps they take forward.
“I also love being a group support facilitator and getting to see clients true personalities. It is heart- warming to see how caring and nurturing clients become even though they are hurting themselves and how they open up and embrace new friendships.
“I have overcome a few challenges to be a volunteer for Cruse. During my training, I had to face my losses and heal them before I could support clients. It meant going back and thinking about losses that I would have preferred to keep buried. It allowed me understand my grief journey and helped me to let go and move forward. Despite the training you sometimes cannot help but be affected by a grief story. Fortunately, we have supervisors who we can talk issues through with.
“I tell clients that it is really important to be especially gentle with themselves while grieving and that it is ok for them to be feeling as they are. Grief affects each person differently and the effects aren’t always obvious.
“One of the moments that sticks in my mind whilst being a Cruse volunteer is having the opportunity to share my story on ITVs Christmas Carol Service and talk about my role as a Cruse Bereavement volunteer. I realised that by telling my story, I could give others hope.
“I’ve been a volunteer since April 2018 and can honestly say that it is so rewarding to walk beside someone as they navigate through their journey of grief. It is a privilege to be trusted enough to help.
“If someone needs help, I would encourage them to consider joining a Cruse bereavement group. The groups provide a safe supportive space for bereaved people to explore their feelings alongside others who understand what you are going through.”
Read more 60 Voices, here.