Still just a phone call away Mountbatten hospice heroes: still here for you Even apart, you can still be supported through the death of a loved one. “Many people say that all they want is a hug,” said Marion Tasker, a Mountbatten counsellor and community artist. “We all want to reach out and touch each other at the moment, to connect with people.” Her care and compassion are now just a phone call away. Marion’s day is now spent supporting Islanders through their grief over the phone, rather than face-to-face, at a time when so many long for human contact. “I think people are still experiencing grief in the same way, but the feeling of being isolated is huge.” For many, Facetime or Whatsapp are lifelines. For those who don’t have access to such technology, phone contact is still offering connection and a chance to be heard. “Normally, you’d have people around you to help you through the extreme emotions of a bereavement. Even if a death is expected, the depth of feeling can be a shock – it’s a very physical feeling.” “No one can do anything about the restrictions we face around things like attending a funeral. But even over the phone, we can offer reassurance and a way for people to voice, express and make sense of that grief,” Marion added. Rituals are often helpful and there are ways you can continue these in your own home. Thinking of a way to mark an occasion, reflecting and perhaps lighting a candle can all help acknowledge that this is such an important time. “And I encourage people to use art, engage in drawing or writing to express what’s happening. Creative writing can help you talk about what you’re feeling,” said Marion who receives paintings and drawings by email, to be explored later in a phone session. “It can help to discuss the feelings that came up whilst you were doing that piece of work or art. It’s a vehicle for people to express themselves.” Art packs and creative ideas have been sent to children and young families who would usually be going to group art sessions and one-to-one therapy in the hospice building. And regular phone calls are made to check in on how families are coping. “We are still very much here for those we support,” Marion concluded. “Phone contact has proven to be a vital link. I think we’ve discovered that we can be incredibly flexible and the coronavirus has pushed us to try different ways of working.” “We’ve realised that we can connect on the phone and develop online resources to support people. It might even change the way we offer care in the future.” Anyone can be supported by Mountbatten’s free psychology and bereavement service; you don’t need to have been under the hospice’s care before. Because of your donations to our coronavirus appeal, we are just a phone call away for people who are alone with their grief. Your donations mean we are there when all hope seems lost. Your donations mean that even when we are apart, we are still together. Thank you. Please help us to continue our work, donate now.