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Stuart's Story

“My wife was a nurse, and I worked in the fire service – I think that our jobs made us who we are, and we shared values because of that. We met about 30 years ago, in a pub – I was there with my crew from work, and she was there with her sister and a few others… we got chatting and it went from there.

Stuart and Maureen on the beach on holiday

Maureen was a very outgoing person, and she didn’t hold back what she thought – that didn’t make her popular everywhere, but I wouldn’t have had her any other way. The thing that everyone remembers her for, though, was how loving, kind and caring she was, and she loved helping people, getting to know them, and working with them face to face.

Both of our jobs were quite demanding, so in our free time, we tended to relax, visiting different pubs, and meeting friends and family, or visiting different places in the UK, exploring the history of those places, as that was an interest of mine.

Stuart Elvery in the Hospice Gardens

After Maureen died, the first few months were very difficult. I would come home and there’d be nobody there – I’d be met with silence. A lot of the time I would put the radio on in every room just so there was noise – nothing particularly meaningful, just background noise to fill the gap that she’d left.

After she died, slowly, over time, I learnt to live life on my own, getting back on track, settling into a new routine. There were lots of feelings and emotions to explore, but they didn’t all come flooding out. My counsellor was able to draw them out in an order that made sense and helped me to work out why I was experiencing them, not feeling guilty for feeling them. There’s no doubt counselling helped me to adapt to life on my own, but it’s not a quick process, and there are still things I notice.

I didn’t access counselling at the Hospice until after she’d died. I wanted to keep a brave face when I visited, and knew that I could look after myself, until the time came that I was ready to access it.

Counselling gave me the tools to handle those feelings, and to make the adaptations, knowing that I am dealing with everything in the right way. My children have been incredibly supportive, but they both have families and jobs. And there are things you might not want to say to a family member about your life, or your wife, and that’s where counselling was my outlet. I’d recommend it to anyone, it’s as simple as that.”

Lisa, a Hospice in the Weald Counsellor with a client

Find out more about our Counselling & Support Service

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