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Hospice helped bereaved woman “put her life back together”

27 March 2018

A woman from Worcestershire has spoken about the help she received from St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester following the death of her husband.

Jane Murphy says the bereavement counselling from the hospice “helped put her life back together.”

Jane’s husband Paul died at the hospice just over a year ago, aged 51. The couple had been together for 31 years and Jane was devastated by his death. She is encouraging other bereaved people to take the opportunity to benefit from counselling if it is offered.

Jane said:

“I lost my precious husband Paul after he suffered a horrendous five months of a physically disfiguring mouth cancer. In addition to the devastation of bereavement, I was struggling to recall any of the wonderful memories that Paul and I had created over the 30 happy years that we had been together.”

“Those memories had been replaced with the horrific experience of us both trying to come to terms with the vicious impact of cancer. After 12 months of counselling support from a St Richard’s Hospice counsellor, Lucinda, my wonderful memories have returned and I am beginning to come to terms with what happened.”

“My counsellor recognised early on that I appreciated hearing about the potential cycle of bereavement and she skilfully helped me process the bad memories by encouraging me to talk through those thoughts that I had consciously decided to avoid ever facing again. She is a first class listener who intervenes in a timely and appropriate manner and her professional approach was most appreciated. With her help I now know that, with the help and support of my family and friends, I can continue my recovery and consider my future in a different light.”

Jane had spent 42 years working as a civil servant and had only been retired for a month before Paul’s diagnosis. She had being looking forward to spending more time at home after being away so frequently.  

She added:

“My friends said, you have lots of people you can talk to so why do you need to see a counsellor? But it was someone separate and who I felt I could say anything to. We had no children of our own but Lucinda made me realise everything I do have and to focus on the positives. The sessions started with unbelievable tears but it was helpful to be reassured what I was feeling was normal.”

“I could not have got through the past 12 months without Lucinda’s support, and my appreciation extends to the counselling service and to St Richard’s Hospice as a whole. They all do an amazing job and helped both Paul and I through the most difficult time in our lives – I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

“I would say if someone has the opportunity to have counselling then give it a try. What is there to be scared of?”

Paul Murphy was a sales manager for a Coventry plastics firm and an avid sportsman all his life - he was still enjoying playing on the front row for Worcester and Droitwich rugby clubs.

Jane said:

 “Everybody loved Paul, he was a big fit man with a huge personality and I adored him. It was unconditional love.”

St Richard’s Hospice Family Support Team includes social workers, counsellors, child support workers and Citizens Advice specialists who offer support in a variety of ways to meet each family’s needs. Patients and those closest to them are offered the opportunity to talk about their concerns and discuss coping strategies on a one-to-one basis. They can also attend support groups and meet others who are going through something similar.

For more information visit St Richard’s

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