Bryan was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and after two rounds of chemotherapy, he was really unwell. I took him into hospital on the Tuesday and when I went to visit a doctor advised that Bryan was dying. We both had no idea, it was such a shock. There was no compassion, I had just gone in for my hourly visit I was allowed at the time. I refused to leave, how could I leave the man I loved after being together for so many years? There was no way I was leaving him, not now, not ever. Bryan died on the Saturday just four days later and I was heartbroken. Just six weeks after getting ill he was no longer with me, it all happened so quickly.

After Bryan died I contacted my doctor and she recommended me to ring Dove House as she knew I enjoyed walking and they did a ‘Together in Grief’ walking group. I went along and straight away I felt I could talk and walk with friends. Next I joined the Welcome Wednesday Bereavement CafĂ© group which subsequently led to Friday Friends.

I had no idea you could access the groups when the person you lost hadn’t died at the hospice but you could. That very first session was daunting, I didn’t know what to expect but I have become such good friends with so many other people who have lost their partners. I love taking part in the crafts each time and the great company that I am surrounded with.

Welcome Wednesday and Friday Friends have helped me so much, I have gained so many friends that I now meet up with outside the groups. Three friends and I  call ourselves the ‘Golden Girls’ as we have all lost our husbands. We have even booked a Mediterranean cruise to go on next year together.

I like to organise trips so we have been on all sorts of adventures together, afternoon tea, the seaside, and shows. It's something for us all to look forward to. We have something in common and support each other when we need it. Thanks to the groups at the hospice I have these incredible people who I get to call my friends and I am very pleased about that.

I have also been volunteering for over a year on the hospice’s reception, I feel very happy and privileged to be part of such an amazing team.