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“Hospice wrapped me up in a blanket of love”

06 March 2018

The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted has made a moving video featuring retired teaching assistant Sandra Wicks talking about the support she received after her husband died.

Grandmother of five Sandra from Hertfordshire, says she has felt ‘wrapped up in a blanket of love’ since her husband of nearly 50 years, Terry, died after a short and unexpected illness.

Sandra and her family received support from the hospice’s Wellbeing and Family service since former builder Terry passed away in April 2016. In the powerful video she talks poignantly about how the charity has helped her through her grief.

Sandra received one-to-one weekly therapy and attended the charity’s six-week Cooking with Chris cookery course, which brings together people who have been recently bereaved, building their confidence and motivation to eat. She also joined the monthly Pilgrim Bereavement Support Group.

She said:

“I found the hospice’s support sessions invaluable. They were full of talking, tears and laughter but they enabled me to share the grief I could not explain and helped me move from the darkest place I have ever known into the light. I have gone from wondering how I would survive to looking at my life with fresh eyes.

“It is hard to put it into words, but since Terry died, the hospice has wrapped me up in a blanket of love. Every time I visit, I feel uplifted and I do not know how I would have coped without it.”

“I had no idea of the range of help and care services they provide for your whole family following bereavement and that their support just continues. The hospice was, and is, here for all our family and others like us.”

Sandra’s granddaughter Cassie, aged nine, also appears in the video and talks fondly about her grandpa ‘Bumps’ and how much she misses him. Cassie found losing her ‘Bumps’ particularly hard. She has been supported by the hospice’s children’s team who helped her talk about her memories, provided special experiences like Pony Days with other children who are also facing loss, and suggested simple things she could do like creating a worry jar as a way to articulate her feelings.

Hospice CEO Kate Phipps-Wiltshire explained:

“Every life is precious and when that life is no longer there it can be devastating for the whole family. People who experience our bereavement care tell me that our care ‘saved their lives and those of their children’ because we helped them to endure the impact of their grief and provided a place of safety to make sense of their lives again.

“Grief, whilst ordinary in the face of loss, can be extraordinary in its impact. Bereavement care increases our resilience and that can be felt across several generations in one family.

“Grief is uniquely personal, which is why we tailor our support to the needs of each person.  In the last six months we made 1,247 support line calls, speaking with 160 people a month, ran 418 individual support sessions, helping 80 people and we brought people together for peer support in groups.

To watch the video visit The Hospice of Saint Francis 

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