Coalition members support bereaved people at Christmas
"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" So the song goes. But the festive season can be anything but festive for someone who has suffered a close bereavement, whether it occurred recently or years ago. For many, their loved one's absence is felt more keenly when the rest of the world appears to be celebrating in merry oblivion.
It was with this in mind that, in the run-up to Christmas 2013, Dying Matters coalition members Kate Ibbeson and Steven Piatczanyn decided to host a Twitter chat aimed at reaching out to bereaved people. Using the hashtag #BereavedAtXmas, they encouraged fellow tweeters who were struggling to cope with their feelings on Christmas Day to get in touch. Encouraged by positive feedback, they ran the chat again last Christmas, when Dying Matters also joined in. Tony and Dorothy Bonser, end of life care and Dying Matters champions, were two of many who accessed the chat.
In three separate blog posts, Kate and Steven, together with Tony and Dorothy, share their experiences of BereavedAtXmas.
Steven Piatczanyn is a PhD psychology researcher for the Gay Partner Bereavement Research Team at Liverpool University School of Psychology.
Read Steven's #BereavedAtXmas blog
Kate Ibbeson lost both her mum and dad to cancer within just ten months. After their deaths, Kate set up Sheffield Cancer Mafia, an informal support group bringing together people with cancer, cancer survivors, carers, family, friends and those who have lost a loved one.
Read Kate's #BereavedAtXmas blog
Tony and Dorothy's experience
Tony and Dorothy Bonser's son, Neil, died of cancer in March 2009. In the six years since, Tony and his wife Dorothy have become heavily involved in campaigning for improvements to end of life care, and are Dying Matters Northwest champions.
Read Tony and Dorothy's #BereavedAtXmas blog