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Yolanda Clarke

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Yolanda works as regional administrator at Cruse Bereavement Support. She lost her parents and her brother within a short space of time, and in this conversation you can ask her ab...

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Can you read me a poem you have written?

This poem was inspired by my mom. It's called Exploration of Grief. When Mom died, it certainly wasn't my choice, and at the time it wasn't something that I could voice. There was a whale and a moan and indescribable pain. Knowing that I would never see her alive again. I felt disconnection as she left life on earth. Like when they cut my umbilical cord after my birth, I cried when we separated way back then, and when she took our last breath. I did it again. I can feel it now. It's hard to describe. It's like a tidal wave of emotion deep inside, like a fairground ride with highs and lows and tame and roll like a boxer's blows. Emotionally charged when converted into words. Self-preservation to keep pain in words. The outpour of emotion that would so often come is something I wanted to protect others from. With each subsequent loss, I have felt this pain and I was hoping not to ever feel it again. It's different each time, but with similarities. But now it no longer brings me to my knees. I now understand the impact of loss, but death and bereavement are hard to discuss. I now understand how it feels to grieve, but this lesson has taught me empathy. I believe so when I tell you, I know how you feel. I know that the pain that you're feeling is real. Your pain isn't mine and my pain isn't yours. But talking can help you climb out from grief to jaws with courage and patience and kindness to self. The grief can be faith and then put on the shelf a constant reminder that though they have gone, the love and the memories will always live on. It's important to grief, to acknowledge a loss and explore the emotions that rise within us so that life can continue a new meaning found, knowing that our loved ones will always be around.

How has your engagement with activities had with your step dad after his loss?

So when I lost my stepdad, there was nobody to take me to athletics. I had to give it up, and that was a major part of my life when I was young. So there's another loss that I didn't know that I had experienced at that time. So yeah, it was really hard to lose those things that I'd loved, and it was something that we'd share. It was me, my stepdad, and the dog, and we used to go. So it was a wonderful, warm, happy place for me, and I'd lost that.

What is Cruse Bereavement Support's role and how can it help with grief?

Cruise Bereavement Support is the largest bereavement charity in the uk. We offer individual bereavement support, group support. We offer signposting and information, and we offer training to companies or individuals who want to learn more about supporting people. We want to ensure that everybody feels supported while they're grieving. If you want to access our service, you can visit our website or you can call our national helpline. We have trained volunteers who can help you with how you're feeling right now.

What has your experience been with loss?

What was it like losing your step father at such a young age?