Pat Peake MBE and Mary Casey started this support group in 2000.
Pat had recently lost her husband, who had suffered with cancer, and found that the emotional support which she was offered in the community was ineffectual and did not meet her needs. She felt one-to-one counselling was unhelpful, as the other person (counsellor) had not lost their partner, so how could they hope to know what Pat was feeling? She did look for other help but there was nothing available at the time. Pat had also had cancer at the same time as her husband, and felt a sense of guilt that she was the survivor. He was her soul mate and to this day she still misses him every day.
Mary is an Oncology Lead Nurse and has to deal with death quite frequently in her job. She knew her patients and their families very well while under her care and then the patient died…
There was no follow up and, after the death certificate was given to the family, they were left to try to and get on with their lives. This seemed to Mary to ‘leave an unfinished chapter’. How could the caring and support for the family stop because the loved one had died?
This is why and how the idea of ‘Healing Hearts’ was conceived.
Death is a fact of life and without death there is no life.
The aim of the group is to enable successful grieving to occur. The group is informal and is run on a voluntary basis. There is no charge to belong to the group or attend the meetings. We offer support to everyone who attends and we are there to help people to cope with what is happening to them at the time. The members of the group have all suffered the death of a loved one and are fully aware of what bereavement brings. The group offers help and assistance to each other and people are encouraged to exchange telephone numbers if they wish, so that they can contact each other between meetings if they want to.Many people attend the group for a while and then leave with an open invitation to return, if they want to, at any time. Support groups, however, are not for everyone; it is an individual choice and one that each person must make for themselves.
Death is an important part of life. It is a painful experience but something which no one can avoid. Although grief is always the penalty for loving someone, it can give us the opportunity to move on with greater insight and understanding once grief has started to resolve.