Little is taboo in our modern society when it comes to discussing controversial issues, yet death remains one of the few subjects that people can find hard to talk about, especially when personally affected by it. Through the media our lives are filled daily with images of death and although it is the ultimate statistic inasmuch as 1:1 of us will die, when death moves from our screens into our own lives it has the power to surprise and wound like nothing else.
Such is the devastating effect that a loved one’s death can have on someone it is sometimes hard for them to know where to turn. However, caring friends and family are, their involvement is sometimes just too personal and a more neutral confidant is needed. Last year 100,000 people in the UK turned to Cruse Bereavement Care.
Cruse is a nationwide organisation founded in Richmond in 1959 with the aim of promoting the well-being of the bereaved and enabling them to understand and cope with their grief. The unusual name originates from a Biblical reference in 1 Kings and refers to a widow’s cruse (a jar) which miraculously never ran out of oil. Thus the name ‘Cruse’ was chosen to signify that support would be given as long as it was needed and there would always be a drop of comfort available.
However, the charity is a non-religious organisation and support is available to everyone, regardless of belief, background or age. Support specifically for children and young people can be found on the website www.hopeagain.org.uk
With Her Majesty the Queen as Patron Cruse employs 5,000 volunteers working across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The charity’s frontline is made up of fully-trained bereavement supporters who work one-to-one with clients. Also essential are those working behind the scenes with managerial, fund-raising and administrative skills.
As with many charities, Cruse is dependent on funding from a generous public. Cruse makes no charge for its service; but on average it costs £180 to support one client – a relatively small sum making such a big difference. They help many clients annually, many of whom are referred by their GP, although many more learn of the service by personal recommendation from friends. The service is completely confidential and available in clients’ homes, and links are made with other charities, agencies and resources as appropriate.
For further information on Cruse nationally and in your local area visit www.cruse.org.uk