Drop in Bereavement Centre
Suddenly, Marieʼs hands begin to shake. The tears fill her eyes. Matilda gets up from her chair, walks over to Marie, and puts an arm around her shoulder. “Youʼll be all right with us,” she says. “Weʼre all in the same boat."
The ‘boat’ these two elderly Londoners are in is the crippling grief that can follow the death of a loved one. Marie had been talking about her husband, Ernie. He died on September 5, 2015, after nine weeks in St Joseph’s, a local hospice. Ernie had bowel cancer.
“I talk to him every morning,” Marie continues eventually. “I get out of bed and I kiss his urn.” For the two months since Ernie died, bed has been the sofa downstairs. She can no longer sleep in the bed they used to share together.
The tears just now were caused by anger. Marie feels that Ernie’s doctor missed the signs of cancer, that four months of maybe life-saving treatment were lost. “Sometimes I feel I could kill him,” she says of the doctor. “I could go round there and smash his windows.
Matilda reassures Marie that it’s ok to feel angry. She talks about her own husband, who dropped dead in the street. Pauline, sitting across from them both, has been there too. Her husband died in an operating theatre, during surgery that was meant to be straightforward. Bill lost his wife. Leon is grieving for his mum. Everyone in the room has felt the same pain.
It was to help grieving people like the ones chatting over tea and cake this morning that Sandra Smith and her friend Olive Brade opened The Bereavement Drop in Centre in Plaistow, in 2011.
The Bereavement Drop In Centre has been funded by The London Community Foundation.Click here to view full story >