Geoff first came into contact with the Drop in Bereavement Centre in 2013 after losing two immediate family members to lung cancer. His aunt died one month before his brother. The following story is in his own words on his experience with bereavement and the Centre.
My brother died on April 27th. He was 52 years old. I've experienced loss before but never anyone as close as my brother. At first I did what a lot of people do, I kept very busy and was pleased to go to work, because everything was familiar, structured, â€˜normalâ€™.
When the busy summertime finished, it suddenly hit me like a tonne of bricks. I didn't want to do anything, just sit and do nothing. I felt as though I was going mad. Some close work colleagues told me I was not myself.
I went to the doctors locally to check for something else and the doctor I dealt with just gave me a leaflet about low mood. They didn't have any useful or up to date information concerning bereavement counselling. I eventually spoke to a bereavement group in Greenwich and through that contact I was given the number for the Drop in Bereavement Centre.
My first contact with the Centre was at the end of 2013. I attended once a week for a month or two. Over the last few years I have remained in contact with the Centre. I've taken part in a couple of fundraising activities including a six run in Olympic park and a couple of social events connected to the centre.
The simple thing to say is that bereavement has similar stages for everyone, but different levels of intensity and time. Bereavement is not like dealing with a cold, it never goes away. It just gets easier to deal with, with time. Having counselling and making connections with people who have had to deal with similar loss has been invaluable. Most importantly, I was told that I could return to get help again if I felt the need to do so. I have on two other occasions.
I only have good to say for the Drop in Bereavement Centre, without whose help I wouldn't have been able to get through my recent personal losses. It is now the end of 2016 and I'm working and feel much more 'presentâ€™ in daily life.