Our Youth Ambassadors
“My Mum died of cancer when I was 14. Even though it was expected and she was in a hospice, it still came as a shock on how quickly it happened. For 2 years after, I rarely expressed how I was feeling and focused on getting through school, exams and deciding on university. This meant having emotions overwhelm me at the most annoying times making me not being able to cope and causing more anxiety.
After finding Child Bereavement UK, they helped me deal with my emotions in a way I felt comfortable with. Also by going to the Young People’s Advisory Group, it allows you to meet others in the same situation. This made me feel less isolated and more willing to talk about how grief affected me.
By becoming a Youth Ambassador, I want to give something back to Child Bereavement UK. But I want to show that grief doesn’t stop once you start university and people will react in different ways.”
“My mother died from breast cancer when I was five years old and for several years after I struggled with acknowledging the fact that it was okay for me to be upset about her death. That is to say, It took me a long time to grieve. Because I was so young, I didn’t properly understand what had happened but I was very aware that everyone was walking on eggshells around me. People at my school were told they couldn’t talk to me about my mum and so I grew up thinking that I wasn’t allowed to think about or miss her. Once moving to secondary school I was expected to be “over” her death but the six years I’d spent suffering in silence meant that I hadn’t allowed myself to actually grieve. These suppressed feelings finally managed to catch up with me though and I was overwhelmed with pain and sadness until I was put in touch with Child Bereavement UK.
I started receiving individual therapy in 2012 and found this massively beneficial; I was able to finally tackle my bereavement head-on and made massive improvements in my general wellbeing. I was no longer exhausted and constantly in pain regarding my mother, finally able to accept the loss of her and allow myself to enjoy my own life without guilt or anger. The following year I was invited to join the Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG) and found this even more useful as I got to meet and connect with other bereaved young people who knew exactly how I was feeling. The friendship I have with them is so different to that with other people; we may not always talk about our bereavement but there is an understanding that we are similar in ways most people aren’t and this makes our relationships with each other stronger. I love going to YPAG; I’ve made some incredible friends and the process of helping other bereaved young people in turn helps me accept my own loss as it feels as though I have turned this horrible experience into something productive and positive.
As a Youth Ambassador I want to give back to the charity for everything they have given me over the past few years. Child Bereavement UK has really helped to get my life back on track and strengthen me as a person and I want to help them in any way I can so they can continue to support other children and young people, like me, who have been bereaved. I want to make more people aware of what bereavement is like, but most importantly I want people to know that we are still normal; just because we have lost a parent or a sibling or another close family member, it doesn’t mean that we are any less of a person ourselves – it is important for us to have fun and live our lives just as anyone else, something that I have learned with the help of Child Bereavement UK.”
“When I was 14, my Dad died unexpectedly. For the first few weeks, I was in shock. As the death was unexpected, I had no time to prepare or deal with my emotions before the death. I tried to keep my daily life as ‘normal’ as possible, and went back to school and normal activities almost straight away. My way of coping was to hide my emotions in public, and as a result, the people around me thought that I was okay, and there was a lack of support. It seemed that people were afraid of saying the wrong thing.
Then I was put in touch with Child Bereavement UK. Just being with other people who had a similar experience as me made me feel more normal, and helped me to get my life back on track. I felt less isolated and alone. As a Youth Ambassador, I would like to give back to the charity by making people more aware of bereavement support and my experience, and the fact that there is no time limit on grief- people come to terms with their loss at different rates.”
James is our Youth Ambassador for Milton Keynes.
“I have met a really good group of people (at the Young People’s Advisory Group) who are now my friends. We have had great fun and I have met other people who understand how I feel.”
Charlie, James’ sister and also a Youth Ambassador for Milton Keynes. Before joining Milton Keynes YPAG, both Charlie and her brother used to be regular members of the group in Saunderton.