Having lost his beloved wife Liz, Pete found comfort in our bereavement counselling groups. There he was able to speak about her and relive some of his favourite memories.
“I was very fortunate to have a lovely clinical psychologist who really helped me deal with my grief,” said Pete, who lives in Telford.
“Liz died four-and-a-half years ago and since then I have had great support from the hospice and the staff. They thought I would benefit from some support and I spent about 12 months visiting Marilyn, the hospice’s clinical psychologist. I visited her and talked with her and I also went to bereavement support groups once a month.
“Until this grief hits you, no one has any idea what you are going through. It was wonderful to have that support from the hospice and it was not just support for me but for my whole family.
“When I finished seeing Marilyn, she suggested I joined the hospice’s singing group and I really got into that. I started talking with people and thought that perhaps I would like to volunteer my time and give something back.”
So, Peter, who had already been a fundraiser for us – he cycled from London to Paris with his son – began to chat with the volunteers and realised it was something he would like to do.
“I applied to be a volunteer in April 2019, and I did group sessions – just listening to people talk about their loved ones. Then they decided I was ready to do one-to-one and that started earlier this year.
He is now a bereavement support volunteer and before COVID-19 was working at Apley. Things have become a little difficult now, but he is hoping he will soon be able to see people over the internet.
“I find it extremely rewarding talking to people about their grief and their loved ones. My family were most concerned when I told them I was thinking of doing this, but they can see now just what it means to me.
“It is totally different talking about someone else’s grief than your own and I feel honoured that people want to talk to me about their loved ones. It is so rewarding – there are some sad times but there are some very happy ones too.
“I feel very privileged that Liz was able to spend her last days at the hospice and that I was able to have the support from the hospice and lean on them.
“A friend of mine, her husband died suddenly from a heart attack. There was no support for her, that was it. For me to have the hospice behind me means so much. It’s my time to give something back to the people who have helped me so much.”
Our social worker, Caroline Clegg, said: “Pete has come to the role of bereavement support worker through his own experience and that, with his willingness to train and to learn from others, makes him a valued member of the team.
“We rely on the generosity and commitment of volunteers like Pete to reach out to the people who are living through grief and bereavement.
“It’s tough work, doesn’t suit everyone and requires a lot of oneself. We couldn’t meet the demand if it wasn’t for our volunteers, they are a precious resource to us and to the hospice as a whole.”