The Art Group Story: “It’s brought out things in me that I’d forgotten”
Members of our Art Group tell us how it’s helped with their bereavement process
At Weldmar, our care and support doesn’t start and end with the patients we look after. Caring for loved ones and family members through one of life’s most difficult journeys is also a key part of the services we provide.
Dave Abbott from Weymouth (pictured above) has been attending the Art Group, run by the Family Support team at Weldmar Hospicecare. He was receiving one-to-one counselling following the death of his wife, and it was his counsellor who said the group could be ‘right up his street’.
Dave says, “I wouldn’t have ever considered myself artistic, but I’ve managed to create something each time that reflected how I’ve felt about a given situation. It’s been really enlightening and helpful. It’s brought back memories and thought processes that had disappeared. It’s just helped to process things and give things a bit of order.”
He said that despite having no experience in art, he was willing to give it a try. “I try to be open minded about everything, but I was certainly apprehensive, but once we started that just went out the window and it would all go with how I felt. Whatever piece of art anyone produced, no-one was there to judge, because it was individual to that person.”
“I would say to anyone given this opportunity, grab it. It’s a fantastic environment to be within, and very supportive. Kate and Kim have gently led us with the artwork, and I’ve gone out every week feeling a lot better than when I went in, and that’s down to the people who are here, as well as the art. It’s brought things out in me which I’ve forgotten, emotionally”.
Dave says it’s inspired him to do more artwork outside of the group – pebble painting. “I’ve started it in the last couple of weeks. I don’t know what form it will take in the future, it depends how I’m feeling on any given day.”
“If there’s one place I can go, it’s going to be with Weldmar because I know I’ll be safe.”
Karen Boulton (pictured above) from Stratton has also been attending the group.
She says she came along to Art Group not knowing what to expect. “My husband had been gone less than three months, so it was all very raw. I was very apprehensive about coming along, about going out of the house, and meeting people. But the one place I’ve felt comfortable is with Weldmar. Since my husband passed away, I’ve been going back to the hospice for counselling, and I thought if there’s one place I can go it’s going to be with Weldmar because I know I’ll be safe.”
Any apprehensions Karen may have had were quickly extingished. “From the moment we all met, we started talking, and found there was an instant connection between all of us. We’ve shared stories, we’ve shared tears, we’ve had some laughs. I think everyone was quite daunted about the artwork itself, but Kim and Kate have guided us through with suggestions and ideas, or encouragement. Within a few minutes, you suddenly find that you have created a piece of art.”
It was the group discussions afterwards that really seems to have been the key for Karen. “The amount of times that people would be nodding to say ‘yes, I know how you feel, and I share your feelings on that’, and for the first time I didn’t feel that I was expected to grieve in a given way, but everything I was feeling was right for me.”
Karen says the group has become very close in the last few weeks, to the point that they have all exchanged numbers and will keep in touch.
Weldmar Hospicecare is dedicated to being there for people like Dave and Karen through difficult times. We cannot do this without your help. From making a one-off or regular donation, through to playing our weekly Lottery, or taking part in a fundraising event or taking on a personal challenge, you will be helping to make sure we are there for everyone in Dorset that needs us in the future.
Thank you to Dave and Karen for sharing their stories, and for members of the Art Group for allowing us to share these pictures of the work they have created: