Our team is made up of volunteers who come with a wide variety of experience, some within caring professions, others not. The key roles are those of our Active Listeners and Translators but we also need members to help with our communication and fund-raising.
The information provided on these pages are designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.
All of us at one time or another will lose someone close to us. Coping with bereavement in any society can be a lonely and bewildering experience. The rituals and social customs of the past, the formal funerals and fixed periods of mourning that once helped to guide us through grief are gone. It can be that friends and relatives become paralysed by embarrassment often because they are not sure what to say or do.
In today’s society grief and bereavement are still taboo subjects, something which many people find very difficult to deal with. Very often after a period of time people expect you to have recovered but unfortunately a death takes time to come to terms with, which takes the time that it takes. There is no magic number of days, months or years after which you will feel better. It is a very gradual process.
It is important to note that you really do need to acknowledge the bereavement process, and not just carry on as if nothing has happened. There is a need for closure for your own well-being. There is a risk that otherwise the loss will never truly go away, and therefore come back and haunt you when you least expect it.
Here in France, Cancer Support Haute-Vienne is an association which supports Anglophones affected by cancer. Sadly, very often the person who has cancer dies and the family, partner or friends are left. If CSH-V has been supporting a carer we will continue to support them in bereavement for as long as they need us. And recently we have been asked to support people who find, some time after the death of a loved one to cancer, that they are still struggling and could do with someone to talk to.
We provide specialist training to our Active Listeners enabling them to understand the various stages involved in bereavement, which include denial and isolation, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance and which the bereaved feel bewildered by and may feel ashamed of. But these stages are perfectly normal reactions to the death of someone you love.
If you find yourself in this situation and feel you would like to talk with someone in complete confidence please contact our helpline 06 04 43 39 87. It is always good to talk.
Sue Ware, President
Co founder Cancer Suport France and our lead trainer
Linda Shepherd 20 August 1952 - 23 March 2017
Linda Shepherd was an amazing lady. She moved to France at the beginning of 21st century with her husband and at her first mammogram they found a tumour. She went through extensive treatment which she said was wonderful, but found that she needed to be able to talk about her fears and worries in her mother tongue and so Cancer Support France was born.
She worked tirelessly for the group. She once told me that this was her mission in life. She became President of the then new National Committee and in 2014 she stepped down. She at that time had hoped to go into the church but was turned down, which was a source of great hurt and feelings of rejection. However, the cancer had returned with a vengeance and taking time to sort this out, we, CSH-V, invited her to become our trainer.
At our first training session with her, being mid-treatment, she greeted us with ‘I may feel like shit, but I am not going to look like shit’! And so she started on another journey looking at diets, lifestyles and make-up enabling our Active Listeners to have a closer understanding of this terrible disease.
She co-trained with a number of trainers from other associations for H-V. She suggested for one of our ‘treat days’ for our ALs to say thank you to them for all their hard work, we had a Colour Me Beautiful session with a friend of her’s, Anne Slater, which turned out to be a really fun day for us all.
She still had close connections with CSF National and was invited to the Trainers’ Training Day and was pleased to find that a number of her suggestions had been taken up in the Initial Training Course as she still had so much experience to offer.
She did her last training session for CSH-V at our AGM on 1 March. She was obviously very ill and when she gave her Trainer’s report we all felt she was saying goodbye.
Linda had enormous compassion, a true sense of faith and will be deeply missed as a friend, as our trainer and our guide. Her legacy lives on in the associations across France and I am sure the people CSF and CSH-V have helped over the years are so grateful to her for creating this amazing organisation.
President, Cancer Support Haute-Vienne
23 March 2017