5 Minutes With...Doncaster woman Lynsey Moore
Doncaster woman Lynsey Moore had been married only 17 months when her idyllic state was shattered.
Her husband Drew, just 32 at the time, received a shock diagnosis of a secondary, quick onset cancer affecting his liver.
Sadly, the aggressive strain took hold and Drew died just over two weeks later.
Stunned by grief, Lynsey, now 38, said she somehow blundered her way through the weeks and months that followed.
Later, recognising the need for peer support for anyone in the locality stricken by tragedy and suffering alone, she helped to found a monthly group.
This is now proving a lifeline to many other people affected by bereavement, in and around the Doncaster area.
Lynsey said: “It was in August, 2015 when Drew went to the doctors and at first it was thought he had glandular fever, then possibly gallstones.
“Tests revealed he had cancer, but because of his young age the doctors didn’t initially expect it to be too serious.
“When they discovered that his was an incurable form, they told us straight away, on September 4.
“We faced it head on but were in denial to an extent. Many people live for years and years with cancer these days and we felt that we could cope, and that Drew would be alright.
“I was looking at people like Jane Tomlinson who lived six years with her cancer. We felt we had hope for the future and channelled our energies in to being positive.”
Drew was offered chemotherapy to potentially ‘give him time’ but after one tiny dose he was too ill to continue, said Lynsey.
“His last week was spent on dialysis, applied through his neck, as he had renal failure,” she recalled.
“Drew was an only child and it was a terrible time for his parents too. Still, none of us expected him to die. It’s true that where there’s life there’s hope....we kept on hoping...it’s what you do.
“But exactly one month after his first symptoms appeared, we lost him, on September 20, 2015.”
Supported by her family and friends, but needing to relate to others who had been through similar experiences, Lynsey talked to other widows she found through social networks online.
She remains friends with a widow in South Africa, and another in Manchester.
“Time is not a healer. People are not replaceable and I struggled to manage my grief,” she said.
“The world looked, tasted and smelt different after I lost Drew. I felt I was on an alien planet and I didn’t know how to navigate it. I had to learn....”
“The Planet Grief blog by the late Helen Bailey was helpful to me. But not everyone has access to the internet. Many older people don’t have that facility, and I wanted to address that.
“A friend I had got to know through my many hospital visits, told me she too was aware of the lack of a particular kind of support for bereaved people and families, and was thinking of starting up a group.
“I was keen to get involved and so we made a start. We tried different ways of promoting it by posters and word of mouth and so on, then set up as an independent group in a room at the back of the chapel at Tickhill Road Hospital.”
The Drew Moore Bereavement Support Group is open to anyone, of any age, who has suffered a significant loss.
Meet-ups are on the first Saturday of every month, from 10am to noon at the rear of Tickhill Road Hospital chapel, Weston Road, Balby, DN4 8QN.
“We meet and talk and share and support. It’s a real mixed bag of people who come, and the size of the group varies each week.
“It’s people who have lost partners, children, parents, etc., who go on to become friends.
“Feedback has been very positive,” said Lynsey.
“When you’re grieving, you often want to talk about that person....they are still there in your world and your life.
“But others are frightened to mention them and feel awkward so they say nothing. It helps to talk to people who understand how you are feeling.
“I want more people to know that the group is there for them.
“I needed peer support so badly and had to find it for myself online.
“This is an easier option and it’s for anyone around Doncaster who needs it. If you are struggling following a bereavement it can be hard to do something about it, but although people can react differently when dealing with the loss of a loved one, everyone needs some support.”
For more details about the Drew Moore Bereavement Support Group call 07958204730, or simply go along to one of the Saturday meetings in Balby, where a warm welcome is assured.