Read Ivy’s story, told by her mother Tracy, to find out more about the incredible impact of our Luke’s Counselling and Support for Children and Young People (Luke’s) service. 

“My daughter Ivy had such a wonderful relationship with her grandad, Marc. Every weekend she would look forward to staying over at her grandparents’ house with her dad. Ivy thought the world of her grandad and loved the time she spent with him. They enjoyed going into town together on a Saturday to get grandad a coffee, and he shared his love of motorcycles with Ivy from a young age.

“In May 2021, everything changed in an instant when Ivy’s grandad died of a heart attack in the middle of the night. He was just 58 years old. It was unexpected and sudden. Ivy, who was just 7 years old at the time, had been staying over that night.  

“As an adult it was a lot to process but for Ivy, as a child, it was even more confusing and overwhelming. Ivy wouldn’t talk to anyone about him or what had happened. She’s really aware and sensitive to how people feel and she was worried that talking about it would upset us.   

“But it was clear Ivy was struggling. Soon after losing her grandad, Ivy began finding it hard to sleep in her own bed, if she could sleep properly at all. She was extremely anxious at night, worrying about what would happen when she closed her eyes and if I would still be there when she woke up. She would need constant reassurance and to hear noise from the TV to know that I was still there.  

“I confided in a colleague at the school where I work who suggested I get in touch with St. Luke’s Hospice. I knew of the Hospice but I didn’t realise they offered support and counselling for children and young people dealing with any kind of bereavement. 

“It didn’t take long after making the first call to the hospice for the Luke’s team to put in place support for Ivy. I was confident this would be good for Ivy – she needed someone she could talk to in a safe space, somewhere she could work through her grief and emotions.

Ivy with her grandad, Marc at the beach

“Ivy began with one to one sessions with a Family Support Worker for six weeks. She was quickly put at ease and felt comfortable talking to the team. When this finished, the Luke’s team suggested Ivy did a course of one to one counselling in the form of Art Psychotherapy, which allowed her to be creative and express her emotions through different activities.   

“It was at these counselling sessions when Ivy really opened up. She would draw, make and play with the therapist while talking about her grandad, which worked perfectly for her.  

“Luke’s works for each child individually and the activities Ivy did were all chosen to help her get the most from her sessions. She loves playing board games at home, so Ivy’s therapist helped her make her own board game where she could ask and answer questions while going around the board.  

“As well as one to one counselling, Ivy also attended a group counselling session in the summer holidays where she met other children who had been bereaved and supported by Luke’s. They made memory boxes and talked. Ivy says she finally found other children who knew how it felt to lose someone close.  

Ivy with grandad, Marc

“Since Ivy has been supported by the Luke’s team she is now sleeping much better. She’s able to sleep in her own room without shouting out and worrying constantly. Ivy still has good and bad days and goes through phases where she needs more reassurance from me, but counselling has helped her manage and deal with her emotions better. It will be a long journey for Ivy but the support of Luke’s has set her on the right path.  

“As a parent I’ve also benefitted from the support of the Luke’s team. I feel reassured knowing that Ivy is getting the help she needs and I trust the Luke’s team fully. The counsellors have helped me to understand what she may be feeling. Every few months, Ivy’s grief and anxieties resurface and it’s as if we’re back to that night, but I know it’s a process, that it will come and go in waves, and I feel more prepared for that.  

“The Luke’s counselling service is one of so many incredible services that St. Luke’s Hospice provides.

“We’re so lucky to have this charity working for our local community and I hope we can give something back and support St. Luke’s Hospice, so that children and young people like Ivy continue to get the support they need, when they need it.”

– Tracy, Ivy’s Mum.

Ivy with her mum, Tracy