I contacted Viv shortly after my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I felt unable to shoulder the sadness and I was at a loss as to how I could support my dad whilst he was dying.  I was fearful that I could not cope before, during and after his death.  I was overwhelmed and found myself telling others that my dad was dying in socially inappropriate settings. As usual in any family situation, there was the dynamic of different personalities, different coping mechanisms and priorities added to the mix.  It was the worst time of my life.

Viv coached me through these months by providing me with an outlet to grieve about the fact my dad was dying in a way that was positive.  She helped me to put my feelings towards myself and others into context, whilst giving me the tools and the self-awareness to support my dad the best that I could in his last months and days.  As a result of Viv helping me manage my grief, I have no regrets about how I acted in the last few months of my dad’s life which is a real comfort to me now.  Also when the time came, I accepted my dad’s death in a way I could not have expected to when he was initially diagnosed, and I am confident that I have escaped the worst period of my life without any emotional damage, all due to Viv.

Coping with watching someone you love die is an experience like no other. The pain is suffocating – it physically hurts – and you feel too inadequate to support your loved one.  However, Viv can be your counterpart to what feels like tsunamis of grief, ensuring you keep your head above water and come out the other side.

Amy – 5.4.16

Dear Viv

I am writing to say thank you for all that you have done to help me move forward through what has been the most challenging period of my life to date.

Your compassion and wisdom have created a safe space for me to explore what I want to do, and more importantly be, in the future.

I have really appreciated your exceptional ability to listen with warmth and then to distil and hone in on the most useful questions or areas for reflection. This, together with the fact that your approach to life planning has been from me outwards, has transformed what could have been a very chaotic time into one with a structure and yet enough flexibility to take account of my emotional processing (and quite a lot of snow!)

As I look back over the notes (which incidentally are the best notes I have ever had from a meeting – your listening and recall are incredible) there is a constant thread of you gently protecting my self- care as well as practical activities and challenges to move my thinking forward. I can’t overlook how much it meant to me to be able to share my story of Dom with you right at the start. The compassion and acceptance that you gave to me in that session have helped me on my healing journey and have also helped me to find the good and the learning in the experiences. When people ask me about the experience I think it is this part that is the most compelling – that you were able to hold the story and the emotions in a way that made them easier for me to live with. The transformational power of love.

I have found my time with you inspirational and have looked forward to all of our sessions. I very much hope that we can stay in touch and am so glad that our paths crossed.

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart and I wish you good fortune in all that you do.

Love

Pat Sowa

16.5.18 – Pat Sowa – Changemaker in Mental Health and Education (Former Headteacher)