When my sister died, her four children needed someone to care for them. Their dad wasn’t around when it first happened, so it was sort of up to me. The children were all under 10 and the youngest was unwell. They lived a long way from any major town and there wasn’t much there in the way of services or people to help. I wanted to take them in, but I lived a couple of hours away and didn’t have any room in my place.
When ’Sis’ first passed, I couldn’t just move into their house and take care of the children because of sorry business- the family had to move out until some-time later. My priority was to try and find somewhere they could all stay together, preferably with me there looking after them, but there was so much else to do.
There was the bank, Centrelink and the government all to deal with and I was overwhelmed. And there was the funeral to organise and I was too upset to even think about it.
That’s where the advocate from the NICRS really helped. She was friendly, she wasn’t pushy, and she explained she was there just to help us get through this. She also told us that she wouldn’t be involved without our permission. Because of the way she approached me, the kids and other family members, we trusted her.
The Advocate helped us organise the funeral and deal with other things that were needed straight away, so I could just focus on the kids. She brought people from different services to come and meet with us and got me in touch with the housing service. She helped me with the paperwork to get a house and it was only because of her help that we got a house for us all to stay in. It meant that after the funeral, the kids could enrol in school and start to get back to normal, at least as normal as it could be without their mum.
In the months after the funeral, the Advocate was in touch regularly to make sure we were getting the help we needed and were ok. On the outside the kids seemed to be coping well but I knew they were still hurting. The advocate put us in touch with a counsellor who worked with the kids to help with their grief. We still hear from our Advocate every so often and I can’t thank her enough for her help.
The kids and I still miss their mum, but we’re doing ok. The help from the Advocate has been a big part of that.