It was helpful to go back through all our times together and contribute something in Barbara’s memory”
As people across Bedfordshire experience the trauma of bereavement and loss on a greater scale, charity Sue Ryder is helping those who are grieving pay tribute to loved ones with an Incredible Memories Fund.
An Incredible Memories Fund is an online tribute page that enables family members and friends to share photos, memories, raise funds and light a virtual candle in celebration of someone’s life.
With the coronavirus pandemic interrupting integral elements of people’s bereavement journeys, this is a special way to ensure personal tributes are recorded, while raising vital funds for Sue Ryder.
Furthermore, with ongoing restrictions on large funerals and wakes, an Incredible Memories Fund provides a space for families and friends to come together for comfort and emotional support and to process their grief.
Locally, the charity runs Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger near Bedford, which provides palliative care for people with life-limiting conditions and supports their loved ones.
Terry Thurley’s wife Barbara was cared for in her final days at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in 2015. Terry, from Flitwick, has since set up an Incredible Memories tribute page in Barbara’s memory. With the support of family and friends, Terry has raised £16,615 for Sue Ryder. He said: “In 2015 my wife Barbara, who was suffering with ovarian cancer, was told by Bedford Hospital that she had five days to live and she was transferred to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice. The care and compassion she received from the St John’s team was truly humbling; nothing was too much trouble for the staff to make her last days as comfortable as possible.
“In addition to caring for Barbara the St John’s team also provided emotional and spiritual support to my family. As such, I feel I owe St John’s an enormous debt of gratitude for making a terrible time a little easier to cope with and ensuring that Barbara’s last 17 days were as pleasant as possible.
“I found the Incredible Memories page to be a wonderful opportunity. When you have lost somebody you can trawl through the memories and the pictures and remind yourself of all the fun times. It’s almost a way of reliving some happy memories. I went through a lot of the pictures with Barbara’s godson George. It was helpful to go back through all our times together and lots of people said it was nice to be able to contribute something in Barbara’s memory.
“Now I tend to visit Barbara’s tribute page on significant days – on Barbara’s birthday, our wedding anniversary or the anniversary of her death. I always think if she was still with me I would be buying her a birthday present so it’s nice to be able to contribute to the hospice in her memory instead. None of us know when we, or a member of our family, will need Sue Ryder to care for us.”
Lucy Owens, Community Fundraising Officer at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “We are so grateful to Terry and his family and friends for their kind support and for raising an astonishing amount of money in Barbara’s memory. This will help us to continue providing our compassionate palliative care and bereavement support and being there when it matters for other local families. Incredible Memories Funds can be a truly special way to celebrate the life of someone who means so much, and do something positive in their name.”
Bianca Neumann-May, Head of Bereavement at Sue Ryder said: “As a society, the grief those around us are experiencing right now is unlike anything we have ever witnessed before.
“Funerals are an incredibly important part of the grieving process. It is a way to recognise your loss, celebrate the life that has been lived and can offer closure and support. Without this ritual, it may be hard for some people to fully process their loss and it’s upsetting for many that they can’t give their loved one the send-off they deserved.
“The Incredible Memories Fund is an important tool for people to process their grief in these unprecedented times. Not only does it allow people to celebrate a life that has been lived in the absence of big funerals, but it keeps their memory alive for years to come.”
To find out more about setting up an Incredible Memories Fund, visit www.sueryder.org/incredible-memories-funds
Sue Ryder also provides a range of online bereavement support, including free video counselling delivered through trained bereavement counsellors; an online community forum offering 24 hour peer to peer support and a wide range of advice and resources for people who are grieving or supporting someone through bereavement. Read more at www.sueryder.org/online-bereavement-support
Find out more about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at sueryder.org/stjohns