Lisa came to us at 14 months old and stayed with until she ended her life on her twenty fourth birthday in 1999, we will never know if this was self-harm or meant to be.
After losing Lisa I found the second year of my bereavement very hard to cope with and I became quite depressed. Fortunately, I had a close friend who I could talk to and that really helped me through that difficult period which went on for quite some time. I found that talking was a good therapy and that sometimes talking to someone away from my own family helped as they were also grieving in their own personal way.
I wanted to put my loss of Lisa into something positive, so I joined Eastbourne Samaritans in 2015 and from there found out about SOBS. I started going to the Lewes Group to find out more about this organisation. I found that the support they offered was very inclusive and allowed me space and the platform to share my loss, a space that was greatly needed.
I joined the National Telephone Helpline 3 years ago, and found people are often asking for a group to support them, and now they ask for a virtual meeting information too, something that is vital during this time of social isolation.
In January 2020 three other volunteers and I started the Eastbourne SOBS Group, we had 3 successful meetings before the Covid – 19 lockdown in March. We have now started virtual support group meetings via Zoom as a way to support those who need it, whilst our face to face groups are suspended. We are offering these meetings to all, regardless of where they live to enable all those needing support the space to talk.
I feel sure that virtual bereaveMENt meetings are a much needed service to help us men cope with bereavement and suicide loss. The fact that these meetings are being held virtually, means we can support any bereaved male, in any corner of the UK. Men do not need to grieve alone, they just need to contact us.
I feel privileged to be part of this new venture and look forward to being part of a team that will support other men through their loss.
bereaveMENt, Eastbourne Group Facilitator & Helpline Volunteer