John struggled when his beloved wife died, but Cruse Scotland’s counselling and peer support groups helped him cope.

John’s wife died in May 2000 following a medical procedure. In the aftermath, John suffered from alcoholism, depression and anxiety. After a visit to his GP, he was referred to a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), who signposted the services of Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland.

He started counselling at Cruse Scotland in September 2017. He says, “It was a huge relief to be able to talk to my counsellor and speak about my present feelings of sadness and grief after years of delay”. After his counselling sessions, John was referred to the Kirkcaldy Step by Step group in November 2017 and has been a member ever since.

He says that he looks forward to each Step-by-Step meeting. “It has encouraged me to discuss my feelings in a supportive environment, no one has laughed at me or said are you making it up?” He says that the group has allowed him to expand his horizons and appreciate others and their viewpoints. “It is an honour to sit and listen to other stories, with supportive and heartfelt comments. What is most important is the complete honesty amongst the members. We can also have a ‘laugh and a joke’ and it has been good to take part in a range of activities”.

Since joining Step-by-Step, I have felt less lonely, it has been a breath of fresh air. I have changed for the better. I didn’t know what to expect, it is part of the ‘magic’. It feels upbeat and I look forward to going. I have learned to listen more carefully without interrupting and to be more considerate of others. I feel more optimistic for the future and I am thinking about volunteering. I cannot thank Cruse enough for their approach and support.