- If I'm honest, for 12 months before I started the bereavement group I was running away from it. God was prompting me to begin this group and I was hoping if I kept quiet that someone else would come along and start it. But, they didn't. I'm Mary and this is my story. I think because of the elderly, they become quite despondent in society that it's just as though they're brushed to one side. Because we have a high retirement population in Southport, quite often they move here with their partners, with their husbands, wives and then they get inevitably, one or the other will die and they're left on their own. And then, friends start to die as well and they're quite lonely and quite alone, so this is a Christ Church where we can offer them somewhere where they are valued people in their own right. Through our first meeting we sat there and we prayed and we didn't know if anybody was going to turn up, but three people did, and those three people still come along once a month to see us now. - My husband died in May 2013, and I felt absolutely at rock bottom. I thought it was only me feeling like that at the time, and then when the bereavement group started just four months later, there were only a few of us there the first time, and I went to that and suddenly found that other people were feeling the same as I did. And, I got such a tremendous relief at being there, thinking, I'm not by myself. And, from then, it's just gone from strength to strength. I didn't realise I'd changed so much until I looked back and I was quite shy to start off with, but now I've found a new person within myself. - But, one of the ladies who turned up some three years ago now, was Margaret who'd lost her daughter and lost someone very close to her as well. And, she was really struggling and really angry with life, really angry with God, to be honest with you. - [Margaret] Well, this has made a tremendous difference to me. I was a very angry person inside here when I came, but I'm not angry anymore. The anger has gone and it's purely down to love and friendship from this group. - We had a gentleman that came along to Senior Alpha. He was brought by his wife and his name was Stan. And, he had no faith whatsoever. It was alright for his wife to go to church, but that was not for him, and at the end of the course it was his wish to get baptised. And, our minister at the time, I think it was on Easter Sunday when we had 14 or so baptisms, and Stuart asked him, now then, Stan, what brings you to here today? And Stan said, well I think at the age of 83 it's about time I got 'round to it. About two years later, because of a stroke, he ended up in a nursing home and that was quite hard for Stan and for his wife. For 18 months he was in that situation. He's no longer with us now. He's gone to glory, but his family have peace of mind because they know he's at peace and they know where he is. Smile. Smile, be prepared to give them a hug, because if they're isolated and livin' on their own that's what they like is physical contact. And, be honest, because elderly people can see through you like you're a pane of glass. If they know you're puttin' it on, they will know that. So, those are my tips. Smile, hug, to love the person that's put in front of you.
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