A way forward through grief
After 32 happy years together, in February 2022 David and Ruth Archer’s wonderful world was shattered when David was diagnosed with life-limiting pancreatic cancer. In this blog, Ruth describes how Rowcroft was there for them both during the hardest days imaginable, and how with the help of the hospice’s bereavement counselling and a nature project, Ruth is starting to find a way forward following David’s passing.
Support when it was needed
“When David was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the devastation we felt was indescribable,” says Ruth. “Torbay Hospital immediately put us in touch with Rowcroft, who from the outset provided crucial kindness, advice and support to both of us at the worst possible time of our lives.”
Hospice at Home
“David’s brief and brutal illness meant that he had several admissions to hospital, and this was extremely distressing for him. However, Rowcroft was able to offer us the Hospice at Home service, where he was much more comfortable. The few days he spent at home were the best we could’ve hoped for and Rowcroft’s nurses were with us whenever we needed them, ensuring he was safe and pain-free. I will be forever grateful that we were able to bring him home where he passed away peacefully.”
“After losing David, I was completely overwhelmed by grief and found myself in a very dark place. Rowcroft offered me one-to-one bereavement counselling to help me cope with the gaping hole left in my heart and the myriad of complex, distressing emotions that followed. I met with my bereavement volunteer for ten weeks and the support and kindness I was given was instrumental in helping me start to find a sense of purpose and a way forward at the lowest point in my life.”
Space in nature
“I was also offered the opportunity to attend Rowcroft’s pilot group project, ‘Space in nature’. This project offered me a safe, caring environment where I could engage as little or as much as I felt comfortable, without any pressure. Each session had a different activity, all of which were extremely interesting and rewarding and were provided by volunteers who showed great empathy and understanding.
“We took mindfulness walks in the beautiful grounds, made music, had a tea ceremony, learned about Rowcroft’s bees and history, and worked with clay among other things.”
A vital lifeline
“It was such a positive and supportive experience and has helped me take the first steps towards finding a way forward, which I desperately needed. I hope that the project will continue as it offers a vital lifeline to people whose lives have been turned upside down and are in desperate need of support; the gravity of grief cannot be overestimated. I will be forever grateful for the support I have received and I have now signed up as a gardening and ‘office saviour’ volunteer for Rowcroft as I wish to help support this worthy charity to ensure that others will continue to benefit from its vital services.”
Shining a light in the darkness
“Rowcroft Hospice is an extraordinary organisation, staffed by amazing people who provide invaluable kindness and support for patients and their loved ones who are experiencing the worst possible times. Sadly, nearly everyone at some point in their life will experience the trauma of life-limiting illness, either directly or as a loved one, and the crucial services and the support that Rowcroft offers shine a light in the overwhelming darkness.”