As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week (9-15 May), ellenor is holding a number of activities and events aimed at encouraging people in the local
community to start that ‘big conversation’ about death, dying and bereavement.

“Talking about death is still something many people find very difficult,” says Claire Cardy, Chief Executive at ellenor. “This awareness week is intended to start that ‘big conversation’. We will be asking people to engage with us in talking about dying and planning for their own future. It will also be an opportunity for people to discover how we can support them in this process.”

Among the highlights of the week is a roadshow event, where members of the ellenor team will be going out into the community to start ‘big conversations’.

It will also provide people with the opportunity to find out more about the support and services ellenor offers. Dates and locations are as follows:

  • Monday 9 May – Bexleyheath, ellenor shop
  • Monday 9 May – Gravesend, town centre (New Road)
  • Tuesday 10 May – Tunbridge Wells, Gateway (Grosvenor Road)
  • Tuesday 10 May – Bluewater, Safety Shop
  • Wednesday 11 May – Swanley, Asda
  • Thursday 12 May – Dartford, ellenor Shop (The Priory Centre)
  • Friday 13 May – Maidstone, Fremlin Walk

There will be other activities going on during the week, including a live Twitter Q&A with Jacquie Hackett, our Director of Patient Care on Tuesday 10 May at 4pm. The week will conclude with a family centred memorial event at ellenor Gravesend on Sunday 15 May, which will offer people the chance to remember and commemorate their loved ones. People can come along between 2-4pm with their families to take part in crafts and activities and the event will conclude at 3.30pm with a short commemorative service including poetry

[case study]

Janet Gilbert: Why talking matters

Janet and her husband Charlie were married in 1981. Twenty-one years later, aged just 51, Charlie was diagnosed with a brain tumour and, within a month, he had died. With so little time to absorb what had happened, Janet says she was left feeling ‘numb’.

“I didn’t know where I was and how I was going to go on – but I knew I had to go on, as I had a 14 year old daughter, as well as three step-children,” she But, inside, she was falling to pieces. It was then that a phone call came from ellenor – which had supported Charlie and his family at the end of his life – offering counselling support.

“I am naturally quite independent and reluctant to let anybody help but I went along and found that counselling gave me the space to offload and process my feelings,” Janet says. “As the time went on, I realised I was really benefitting from the counselling sessions.”

Counsellors at ellenor help people cope with grief and pain, and adjust to life without their loved one. For Janet it was a chance to express her bottled-up emotions and come to terms with the devastating and sudden loss.

“It was a very difficult time,” says Janet. “I really couldn’t face each new day and counselling gave me something to get out of bed for. It gave me focus and enabled me to talk about Charlie’s death.”

Janet’s experience of counselling was so profound that she was inspired to train as a counsellor herself and now works at ellenor, helping other families through their grief.