Guest Blog by Eleanor Ellerslie, Beyond Words Manager at Cruse Bereavement Care NI, who won a Big Lottery Fund 10th Birthday grant. Read more here: Cruse Bereavement Care’s #NITenth Birthday grant.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
I love quotes and this one from C S Lewis is one of my favourites. This quote is especially meaningful after a bereavement. The death of someone we love can bring strangers into our lives who then become our friends because we find someone who understands how we are feeling and how the grief is affecting us.
I was reminded of this quote when I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago. A lady called Peggy telephoned our office. A few weeks beforehand she had been on a bus to Belfast and got chatting to a fellow passenger, a lady called Linda.
They talked about their husbands and how much they missed them. Linda told Peggy she belonged to a Friendship Group run by Cruse and she stressed how much it had helped her in the last couple of years.
Linda told her about all the events they had been to, the residential trips to Bushmills, some of them had gone on holiday and how they would now meet up and go for lunch at different times of the month. She also mentioned that she had been on Radio Ulster to talk about the group. When they got off the bus in Belfast, they stood chatting for about 40 minutes and Linda encouraged Peggy to contact Cruse about the group.
Peggy did ring Cruse, but she rang the National Helpline number and they were unable to help her find the group.
She spoke to people she knew around the area where Linda had got on the bus in case they knew who she was, but none of them could help her.
When Peggy was speaking to her brother he said he would go on to the internet and google Linda, Cruse, Radio Ulster and Friendship Group.
Thankfully, when he did this he found a Beyond Words Ebulletin which he passed on to Peggy so she could contact us.
Peggy came along to our Belfast Area group last month and is now in regular contact with Linda and some of the other members. She is planning to go along to their next lunch meeting and also has her name down for our next residential in October.
Linda is a fantastic ambassador for Cruse. She tells everyone about the group. She helped us out with an information day at Tescos on Saturday and one women remarked to her that she was so glad she came in that day because its the first in a long time she had spoken to someone who understood her grief.