My own grief work began in earnest when my first-born son Jeremy died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1985, aged four months. Subsequent and compounding losses over the next eleven years included the death of other family members, friends and pet as well as my marriage, possessions, home, community and self.
Working alongside other’s trauma, loss and grief began in 1997 and continues to this day. Throughout this time, I have engaged in ongoing learning about trauma, loss and grief and more. My grief work history is as outlined below.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Wellington Inc
Eleven valuable and enriching years were spent with SIDS Wellington Inc. Initially trained to support families after the sudden and unexpected death of a infant, my role grew to include coordinating the 24hr phone line, providing SIDS and grief education/training in the workplace/community and coordinating the service until it closed in 2008.
Parent Help Wellington
For over a year, I coordinated volunteers for Parent Help’s 24hr phone line, responded to parenting calls and provided administrative support.
Encore Programme – YWCA Auckland
I established and delivered the Encore Programme in the Hutt Valley for six years. Encore was a wonderful national water-based exercise programme for women after breast-cancer treatment. It was designed for rebuilding the self physically, mentally, emotionally and socially through exercise, information and support.
Cancer Society – Wellington Division
Alongside Encore, for six years I co-facilitated two cancer support groups in the Hutt Valley. Lower Hutt was a women only Breast Cancer group while Upper Hutt was for all cancers and mixed gender. During this time I also co-facilitated Living Well, an education programme for people recently diagnosed with cancer and their family/supports. I delivered Living Well in the Hutt Valley, Wellington and Mana, both in the community and hospital setting.Visit The Cancer Society – Wellington
For over a decade or more, my association with Skylight was closely aligned with the Wellington Grief Networker’s Forum. My work for Skylight included development of grief resources, parent group facilitation, Professional Development workshop delivery and phone support post the Christchurch earthquakes.Visit Skylight
Guardian, Harbour City and Wilson Funeral Homes
I have been providing bereavement support for their clients since 2009. Clients can access three complimentary sessions.
Wellington Region ME/CFS Support Group Inc
For three and a half years, I was the Community Support Coordinator for people living with chronic illness, namely Myalgia Encephalitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia and related disorders. I facilitated five monthly support groups throughout the Wellington region, provided individual support by phone and home visits and was the organisation’s 0800 phone line responder.Visit WellMe
Grief Relief Ltd
I founded Grief Relief in 2010 as a way of continuing to utilise my knowledge, skills and experience to support grievers, educate those around them and the public at large about grief. In particular, I wanted to continue supporting families bereaved by the death of a child of any age and from any cause. Through this work, I continue to honour my son Jeremy whose short life has taught me much.