Enya Nicholl was just 12 years old when her dad Gerry died from silent pneumonia in March 2015, leaving her bewildered, anxious and grieving. But her mum Andrea was able to get her daughter the help she needed, having lost her own mother when she was a teenager. Keen that Enya and her two sisters Nadia and Kerry-Lee wouldn’t have the same experience of bereavement she did, Andrea contacted Cruse Bereavement Care.
“My mother died when I was 13 years old and back then you didn’t go to counselling, there was nothing,” said Andrea.
“When my husband passed away it left a big opening in our family and I just said to myself I can’t and won’t allow my kids to endure the same pain. Yes they are going to hurt but I wanted them to be able to deal with it and learn to come to terms with it and hopefully coping with it will continue for them into later life.
Enya said: “Going to Cruse helped me a lot. Before I went all my emotions were bottled up and I didn’t know how to express them.
“It’s important that you listen to young ones who are grieving and let them express their feelings. That way they will be able to let all their emotions fly free and be able to feel normal again.”
The Nicholl family got involved with Cruse’s Get Together project, funded under the Supporting Families programme. They sent the family on a residential weekend to Corrymeela, Co Antrim. It proved to be a tremendous relief for Andrea and her children.
“It was a weekend where the children remembered their Daddy, but had fun while still remembering. They were able to think of him in a happy way and it was the first time my children and I had really laughed in a long time.”
Enya said: “It was good because you could talk to and listen to other children who had lost their Mummy or Daddy and it had taught me a lot because I learned how they coped.”
Enya is now a young volunteer at Cruse Bereavement Care where she helps other young people who are going through similar experiences.