Grace is a Winston’s Wish Young Ambassador.
I was 8 years old when my dad died of pancreatic cancer. I felt like I was in a daze until the day after he died when I realised how ill he was. My mum always kept me up to date and made sure I knew everything. I remember the night he died clear as day. Straight away, I knew and I didn’t even have to hear the words every child dreads hearing. I felt empty but so heavy and weighed down with what had just happened. One day he was here and overnight he had died. Everything afterwards was a blur – apart from the funeral.
I don’t remember much – apart from the point when Winston’s Wish entered my life.
The counselling at Winston’s Wish gave me a hope for the future. My dad was my go to and without him, I felt very lost, but it was Winston’s Wish that allowed me to develop the open relationship with my mum but also myself. They gave me the strategies I needed to cope and a guarantee that I wasn’t alone. The weekend away allowed me to see meet others who knew how I was feeling but also accepted and didn’t think I was crazy. It was a comfort to know that I could talk about my dad and not have everyone go silent because they didn’t know what to say or look at me with wide eyes as they could hardly believe I still wanted to. Like my friends at school did. I found school tough as I felt misunderstood by my classmates. I wanted them to know how hard it was meanwhile I never wanted to feel the hurt I was feeling and still feel sometimes today.
Now, I know that it is okay to have bad days and to still feel deeply sad, but I also know that I have ways to remember my dad and that he won’t be forgotten. They showed me that life without dad didn’t have to be a horrible one and I would always be able to go back.
Winston’s Wish was a lifeline for me and my mum and without them I know I wouldn’t be the open and confident person I am today. It was with their help that I feel I can show others they aren’t alone and talking about it is the most vital thing. I will never be able to repay WW for how they helped me but being a Young Ambassador allows me to do what I can. A thank you just doesn’t even cut it. Even today Winston’s Wish show me that I don’t have to feel ashamed when it comes to talking about my dad and keeping his memory alive. Bereavement doesn’t have to be a taboo subject and talking about it helps so much and I’m so glad that it was Winston’s Wish there to listen.