Clare’s husband was diagnosed with cancer and died leaving Clare and her two small children aged 3 and 5. Clare contacted other charities and was told that they couldn’t help children under the age of 5. Clare was concerned about her youngest daughter who may have seen her father die at home, Clare didn’t know what she had seen nor how it might have affected her. She also wanted some guidance on how to talk to both her daughters about her husband’s death. Clare contacted the Simon Says helpline and was given advice on how to handle the immediate situation but also recommended the monthly support groups. The three of them attended the support groups for over 2 years. “We made really good friends, it was helpful to be with other people that had been through the same thing, we weren’t on our own. Some of the parents would talk about their situation and how they handled it and then others would chip in with what had worked for them.  We learnt that we can’t change what has happened but have to learn to live with it.  It helped us come to terms with our loss and gave us hints on how to handle it.  It was a bit like joining my first mums group.  I could talk to them about common experiences and they would understand unlike my friends who hadn’t had children. For the girls, it also allowed them to be around others who had been through a similar experience, they suddenly didn’t feel so alone. My eldest said “I wish some of my friends had been through the same as me so they knew how I felt”, I told her that she didn’t really wish that on them and she agreed but it was lovely for her to make new friends at Simon Says who did understand.  They loved the sessions on anger, learning it was normal and how to deal with it.  They also learnt that it was ok to be happy, they don’t have to be sad all the time.  It helped support the messages that I had already been giving them at home but now they were hearing it from someone else too. We haven’t been for a while but my daughter is now 11 and we are considering going to YPG (Simon Says Young Persons Group for 11-17 year olds). She has had some changes in her life recently, like moving school and needs the additional support. It really helped me to meet others who had lost someone and I am now able to help support others in a similar situation. Thank you, to Simon Says who helped us come to terms with our loss and to the friends we have made along the way.”

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