People often say to Marsha Jones that her volunteer work supporting bereaved people must be depressing.
Admitting it is often sad, Marsha said it is an honour to perform her role and it can actually be quite uplifting.
She is just one of the people who give their time freely for Cruse Bereavement Care and she hopes her story will encourage others to follow suit.
Marsha said: “It is far from depressing. It is often sad, as I hear many tragic stories, but it is incredibly uplifting as I have learned so much from my clients in the 18 years I have been working with Cruse.
“I have learned from my clients that we cannot escape or control the fact that someone we love will some day leave us but that it is possible to build a meaningful life around the grief, which will always be a part of those of us who are left behind.
“In the first days of a bereavement there are many overwhelming feelings, numbness, shock, guilt, fear, anger, but there is a lot to process and much to do. Many people have a lot of support at this time, although some do not.
“However, when this first period has passed and the bereaved person is left with the reality of their loss, we are there for them.”
A lot of people who have been bereaved are supporting others who loved that person too, so they feel they cannot burden them with their own feelings. Some people simply have no-one to talk.
Marsha said: “We can sit alongside our clients and help them give those feelings some freedom instead of being locked away in a difficult place inside them.
“Generally, if difficult thoughts and feelings can be released, they can be confronted, examined and dealt with.
“We often wish we had a magic wand to banish the sadness of our clients but we do not. We can only sit for a while alongside them while they are grieving, and that is an honour.”
Cruse has three branches in West Sussex – Chichester and Arun; Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex; and Worthing and District. The charity is looking for an area chairman to foster partnerships between volunteers, supporters, other charities and businesses.
Marsha, who lives in Chichester and volunteers for the Chichester and Arun District branch, said: “The role offers the opportunity and privilege to become involved in the delivery of an essential service which impacts on people’s lives.
“We offer free support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance our society’s care of bereaved people.
“All our volunteers are trained and offer their time for free.”
Applicants should be experienced leaders and effective influencers with excellent relationship building skills. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Cruse Bereavement Care, Lodge Hill Centre, Watersfield, West Sussex RH20 1LZ.