Molly Humphreys and Hannah Romaine are 19 and 20 years old now. Both of their fathers died when they were at primary school. They are Young Ambassadors for Jigsaw (South East), and here they speak about their support for Children’s Grief Awareness Week 2020, which aims to tackle isolation.
Hannah: I lost my dad nearly 11 years ago to cancer. When he died, my biggest fear was feeling like I was the only one. No one else at my small primary school had faced the death of a parent or close relative. I was 9, and I felt very alone.
By attending the Jigsaw (South East) groups, I realised there were other children in the same position as me, and that they understood. Going to the groups and talking, took away the feeling of being isolated and instead, I made friends for life who understood my situation and what I was feeling.
Molly: In the same year, my Dad also died from cancer. I was 8 years old and attended Jigsaw a few months before Hannah. I was also the first pupil in my school year to lose a parent. Going to Jigsaw support groups really helped me. It had a big impact.
Hannah and Molly: Fast forward eight years, where we met for the first time at college. As soon as we found out that we had both been to Jigsaw groups, we automatically clicked, and it didn’t take long before we became close friends.
We got in contact with Jigsaw, wanting to give something back for everything they had done for us at our time of need. We were delighted to become sidekicks in our Young Ambassador role.
When we experienced our bereavements, the world was in a very different place. With COVID-19 taking away face to face contact, the personal touch has been lost, which is so valuable and needed after losing a loved one. Right now, it’s important to remember children and young people behind closed doors, who may be suffering and feeling isolated.
In these times, we need to think outside of the box, for other ways in which we can offer support to those around us, in different socially distanced ways. Video call, send a simple text message and let the person know you are thinking about them, meet for a walk outside. Just make contact and talk – it will help.
Hannah Romaine and Molly Humphreys