Bereavement support

When Grace Withyman’s dad died, she was referred to Just ‘B’, Saint Michael’s  specialist bereavement support service, where she found a safe space to express her grief and talk about her feelings. Here Grace, aged 15, describes how the service is helping her.

“My dad was an absolutely amazing man. He was really inspiring – he could always see the positive in the bad and we had an incredibly close bond.  We could always make each other laugh and cheer each other up in bad situations. He’s irreplaceable and we will miss him forever, but he’s in our memory and that is what is important.

I lost him at the start of 2017 on the 15th January. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in summer 2016 and went into Saint Michael’s Hospice after a spinal tumour paralysed him from the waist down.

The support from Just ‘B’ since my dad died has been absolutely amazing.  I was a bit apprehensive coming into my first Just ‘B’ session — I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought I’d give it a go.  I’m open to new things.

From the firstsession I was put totally at ease. I had an absolutely lovely support worker and she made me feel completely comfortable. I wasn’t pressured to say anything I didn’t want to say. She just left it all up to me and made me feel really comfortable and happy to talk to her.

I can talk to her about anything.  Sometimes talking to mum, I don’t want to upset her with anything that I say.  So I talk to Just ‘B’.  Sometimes I don’t even realise I have so much to talk about but when it comes to it and I’m asked questions I can just talk for an hour straight. It’s really good.

Losing my dad, the grief has impacted me in various different ways.  It’s impacted me in my schoolwork and concentration, which I found really difficult.  

But coming to Just ‘B’ has helped me. It’s kind of cleared my head. I can come and clear my thoughts and so when it comes to tests and homework, I’m a bit more able to concentrate on my work.

Sometimes you can feel alone and isolated and feel like no one is there for you and no one cares and in reality so many people do.  Just ‘B’ are showing young people that people do care, you’re not alone and people are always going to be there to help and support you.”

Just ‘B’ ‘s services are available to any adult, child or young person in the Harrogate district who wants support following any type of bereavement.

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Grace was talking to BBC Radio York’s Elly Fiorentini who visited Just ‘B’, as part of Children in Need’s 2017 campaign, to find out how Just ‘B’ supports people living with bereavement. This is a transcript of that interview, with kind permission from BBC Radio York.

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