Gracie’s story

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"Gracie calls it her 'Daddy Talky Group'. We don't talk about what happens at the sessions in any detail. I never pry because it's her private thing that she's got going on."

Gracie started attending St Clare Hospice for bereavement support after her dad died. She was only five when Simon was diagnosed and seven when he passed away.

“Simon and Gracie were really close. He adored her, and she was like his little shadow. His death has hit her really hard, and that is where St Clare Hospice and the Echo Connect creative bereavement group has been able to help.

“Simon was diagnosed with a rare cancer and was initially given just eight months to live. Luckily, we had him for over three years and in that time, although it was during Covid, we got our chance to make memories and say our goodbyes. 

“It’s all so terribly sad though. We were really in love. Really happy. We had everything ahead of us, had a lovely life. He had a great job and we were just so, so happy. And then this happened.

“Simon and Gracie used to do everything together. He’d take her out on her scooter. He’d walk her to school. Anything he could do with her, he would. Every single second of his time that he could, he would spend with her. 

“After he passed, Gracie found it very difficult. Simon had two older daughters and I’d say to her that they were sad too. She’d reply that they’d had more time with him. That was hard to hear.

“Her being sad made me sad, obviously. I’d hear her sometimes muffling her crying. I’d ask her if everything was alright and she’d say she didn’t want to cry in front of me because she didn’t want me to be sad. It was terrible. It was like a vicious circle.

“And then this Echo Connect group came up. And she’s literally a different girl. Just last night, she was in the lounge dancing and singing. It’s definitely linked to the Thursday Echo Connect sessions. 

“Gracie calls it her ‘Daddy Talky Group’. We don’t talk about what happens at the sessions in any detail. I never pry because it’s her private thing that she’s got going on. She told me she’s making a memory box, and if she wants to ask me anything, she can.

“I think it’s nice for her to have something for herself. She says, ‘It’s my little special thing’.

“I think it’s just the fact she’s with people who’ve lost someone as well. She doesn’t feel she’s on her own. And do you know what – I’m okay. I’m okay as long as she’s okay.”

Ellie, Gracie’s mum and Simon’s partner

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