Lucy came to Cruse after the sudden death of her brother six years ago. He was hit and killed by a speeding driver, the aftermath of which led to complications following the death and a delay to the funeral. At only 27 years old, Lucy's brother’s death and its aftermath had an immediate and lasting impact on Lucy and her family. Here Lucy tells us about her experiences in her own words.
I was 27 and leading a very normal life. Christmas was approaching and I remember that on the Friday, I had spent my lunchbreak texting my brother. We had been arranging our Dad’s Christmas present and he had transferred me his half of the money. A little over 24 hours later, my brother was dead.
The driver was given the chance to consider a second post-mortem, which meant we could not hold my brother’s funeral for seven weeks – and that he was kept in a morgue and we were unable to see him over Christmas and New Year. It took 18 months from the date of Peter’s death for the court case to complete (including an appeal for lenient sentencing).
This was the worst experience of my life, and the impact it had on myself and my family is difficult to put into words. As a teenager, I had suffered from an eating disorder – and the grief and the shock quickly brought this back, I dropped down to a size 4. I was going to work and doing the day to day functioning – but really, I was losing my mind. Peter’s death was so unexpected and violent, I just could not process it or find any peace. I was racked with regrets and guilt – I felt that I needed to be strong to support my parents and my brother Robert (who lives in a care home), I didn’t know who I could turn to, to say how much I was struggling.
What led you to come to Cruse?
After three months, I was sleeping so badly, I knew I had to go to the doctor. I told her what had happened and her eyes filled with tears – it was a moment where I realised that it was okay for me to be finding this experience difficult, and that I should not be ashamed of that. She recommended that I contact Cruse – and after a few months waiting, I was invited to start some support sessions through them.
How did you find the sessions helped you?
I distinctly remember that my sessions were on a Tuesday evening – I would finish work and take the train into Birmingham. Tuesday evenings became my time, where I could have headspace for myself. I would walk around town for a while, get a hot chocolate and then go to my session.
Sometimes I would go feeling full of anger, and like I had nothing I wanted to say – but somehow, when I sat down in that room, the words would flow and I could release everything I had been holding in.
Every time I left a session, I felt a tiny bit lighter, and like I had been able to be honest about my feelings, without the worry of what my friends or family thought.
Cruse supported me through to the sentencing hearing – these sessions became such a vital crutch for me.
Shortly after my sessions with Cruse finished, I found RoadPeace, and began attending their support group. Again, this was crucial for me – and I was able to continue working through what I was feeling, with others who had similar experiences.
Six years on, I am in a good place and life is enjoyable again. I miss my brother each day – but have been able to build the resilience to cope with this. I will be forever grateful for the support I had from Cruse – losing my brother completely rocked my foundations and I cannot even think about where I might have ended up, if I had not had this help.