At a very young age, Natalie had experienced more heartache and financial pressure than most people she knew.
Natalie’s family have always been close. When she was just sixteen, her Dad suffered a severe stroke. Consequently, he needed to be moved to a nursing home, as he required full-time care and medical attention. His family committed themselves to supporting him financially and emotionally.
“We didn’t have any other family to turn to. All of our finances went into Dad’s long term care and the whole thing made my relationship with him even stronger.”
As the years passed, the family remained a strong unit and Natalie regularly visited her Dad in the nursing home along with her Mum and younger sister. Everything seemed to have fallen into place until last Christmas when Natalie felt like her world had fallen apart.
“He took an unexpected turn for the worse. We all thought it was something minor but sadly, that was not the case. It was a terrible shock.”
Whilst Natalie’s Dad was in hospital, he developed sepsis and sadly passed away. As the family tried to come to terms with their sudden loss, Natalie was thrown into a whirlwind of financial difficulty when all she wanted to do was grieve. As she was next of kin to her father, she now faced a mountain of bills and funeral costs that she couldn’t afford to pay. Although she was a relatively private person, she opened up to her manager about her situation and explained why she needed time off work to figure out her next move.
“I went from being a young woman with a good job and stable finances to being overwhelmed with debt. I didn’t know what to do. That’s when my manager suggested getting in touch with the Charity.”
Natalie gave us a call and we talked through her concerns together. After knowing the situation in detail, we found that we could pay towards the funeral, immediately relieving the financial pressure on her shoulders. We also signposted her to Cruse Bereavement Care to provide her with additional support.
“I originally felt like I was quite alone in all of this. I think I just burst into tears when I first called the Charity. They were very kind. Their supportive conversation was a big thing for me.”
Although it was a painful time for the family, we were able to relieve Natalie of her financial burden, giving her space to breathe. She was now free to grieve in peace and give her Dad the send-off he deserved.
“The support from the Charity was never going to make our sad situation a happy one. But they took away the financial strain for me, which was a huge relief.”
When we got back in touch with Natalie, she was in a good place. She is still learning to cope with the loss of her Dad in addition to dealing with the many challenges her department are currently facing at work. Knowing that we are here to support her has made a big difference.
“We were never magically meant to know how to cope with these types of situations. Just picking up the phone and asking for help is the best thing you can do for yourself and everyone else around you. Don’t struggle alone.”
“It's a strange time for all of us. The most important lesson I've learned so far is that everyone reacts to these situations differently. Being flexible about other people's needs will make it easier. These are values that we can all learn from The Charity for Civil Servants. For years, they've customised support based on what the individual needs. And have delivered support in so many different forms. I think I just burst into tears when I first called the Charity for help. They were so kind. Their supportive conversation was a big thing for me. A helping hand doesn't look the same to everyone, but everyone needs it at some point.”