Carina's story

My husband Mark died when he was only 54 years old. Although he’d had a heart operation to give him a new heart valve, he’d recovered well and I never expected that he would eventually develop a blood clot and die within a 24 hour period. I still don’t even believe he is not here. On a night I just think he has gone to bed early and he is up there waiting for me. People see me in the street and avoid me. They don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything. Or I worry if people know and if I will have to explain. It is a horrible feeling.

I never expected to lose my husband so young. He made it to our youngest daughter's 18th birthday and now she won't get to share any more years with him. We have six kids, and they have all rallied and been so supportive but I am conscious they are also grieving themselves and I don’t want to put too much on them.

I have been coming to the hospice Bereavement Café since November 2022 as a friend of my husband had been going and recommended it to me. I was nervous, but Mark's friend met me in the car park and took me in. I then recognised someone who goes swimming at the same time as me in the morning and I felt my worries start to ease a little. It is a relief to be able to go somewhere where people are in the same position and don’t feel awkward when they talk to you.

I feel better for going to the Welcome Wednesday, I don’t have to worry about what people are going to say or what they expect me to say in return. I tend to sit at the tables in the group where the new people come to, and I get to help them settle in. I am probably one of the youngest women in the group but I never feel out of place and although our situations may not always be exactly the same I can relate to a lot of what others are going through.

I like Welcome Wednesday from the second I walk in to the second I leave, it always goes so quickly.

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