In 2018 Grace’s partner died in a motorcycle accident at only 20 years old. After her Mum noticed that Grace wasn’t coping, she suggested she visit the doctor, who signposted her to Cruse.
“We obviously weren’t expecting it to happen at all. He was here one minute and the next he was gone”.
Here Grace talks to us about her experiences.
Tell us about the bereavement experience you had and what the impact was
Because of his age it was a shock for everyone. I was also only 19 at the time. He was on his way to my house and just got hit. He just went out to work like any normal day, and didn’t come home again.
I got a call from his little brother to say he’d had an accident – but I just didn’t imagine how bad it was going to be. In fact I remember his brother saying that he thought it was a broken leg or arm. Obviously when I got to hospital it was clear it was much worse than that, and he died that night.
I wasn’t allowed to see him at all, we were just in a cubicle waiting, until the doctor came in and told us the news. I think I had an inkling, I don’t know why. My mum kept saying we had to have faith and all that, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.
How did you feel in the immediate aftermath of his death?
How did you first hear about Cruse?
In the days and weeks after it happened, I noticed people were saying stuff to me and it wasn’t going in. I just felt like it wasn’t real. I suffer from anxiety and depression anyway, so I’d had counselling before, but when he died it felt like it was all unravelling again. I did go into quite a dark place, and I wasn’t really sleeping. My Mum could tell I wasn’t quite right, so she encouraged me to go to the doctor. And it was them who told me about Cruse, I hadn’t heard of them before.
What were your initial thoughts about coming to Cruse for support?
At first I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to go through the whole story again. We do talk about him in my house, he lived with us for a while so it affected my whole family as well. So going to Cruse helped because I knew I was talking to a stranger, away from my family. They were grieving as well. I didn’t want to put all my pressure on them. I was really up for doing it in the end.
How did you find your first session?
At first it was quite difficult because you have to go through everything that happened that night, everything about us, and all of that – so it was bringing all of it back again. After the first session I went home and cried. But as time went on, it also made me find myself again. And now I’ve finished I just feel different. I feel like I can deal with the whole situation now – more able to deal with how I am feeling. I feel more open about talking about him as well now, whereas before I avoided it. I shut it all out and didn’t allow anyone to talk to me about it, even my parents.
Lockdown has helped me as well. When I’m at work I never used to think about what happened, but being off for three months has really helped me. I did a lot of yoga and focussing on myself, a lot of self-care, which has helped.
What advice would you give to others who are considering coming to Cruse for support?
I would say it is going to be hard, but sometimes you just have to push yourself. In the long run you’ll feel better that you did it, than if you didn’t do it. So I would say just go for it, ‘put your big girl pants on’ and just do it. Someone told me that a long time ago and it’s resonated!