Cyrus, New Member Host and Outreach Volunteer

Cyrus is one of our New Member Zoom volunteers, hosting online meet-ups for new members to come along to and sharing about the support available to them.

WAY Volunteer, Cyrus

"One fine morning in 2019 my beautiful wife was killed on the road by a reckless HGV. 

That evening I had to break the news to our two kids after they’d returned from primary school. It was the hardest single thing I’ve ever had to do. 

From that moment on, I knew I had to be everything for my kids. They needed stability. 

I also knew I needed to comfort others in shock. 

So I knew I had to show I was calm and ‘ok’. I was expected and advised to ‘be strong’ – people needed to see that. I didn’t cry in front of anyone. I managed practicalities. I made others feel better."

"Of course, it was only an outward impression. Inside I was all at sea – I was drowning."

"It was like the peaceful little boat of our family life, so happily bobbing along, was suddenly and violently torpedoed. And I was clinging to a piece of the wreckage and my kids were clinging to me. I was trying desperately not to be engulfed.

It feels like that a lot of the time now, but the pain is getting a little less intense. 

I heard about peer support groups, but initially dismissed the idea. How on earth, I wondered, could I possibly hold anyone else’s pain when I couldn’t even hold my own? I was desperate for someone to hold me – literally and metaphorically. Just to stay with my torment. But, (as I was to later learn is common), most of the time people avoided the subject; or trivialised my anguish with their ‘at least’ comments; or offered supposedly ‘wise words’ of advice. 

Lockdown hit us soon after. Hadn’t we suffered enough? On top of the emotional isolation of grief – now literal isolation. What the heck was this?!

After some time I benefited from grief therapy through Grief Encounter. My therapist was an excellent fit for me. It was so hard but helpful. Yet I also sometimes felt like a pathetic wretch. Inevitably there’s an imbalance between you with all your agony and the in-control therapist. This is when I started to open up to the idea of peer support.

We all know that death is the ultimate taboo. It’s also a cruel reality that the more shocking the death the more difficult it is for some people to find the courage to face us. Maybe they’re scared of having to face their own feelings. I used to think that it was, in some way, my ‘fault’ – my suffering seemed like an embarrassing secret that brought negativity to others. Like my very situation, my own existence even, was a problem – I brought a ‘downer’ to people’s day. My isolation intensified. 

Everyone I’ve met through WAY has a story of someone (often some close to them – friend or family) turning their back on them. One of the most magical things about meeting people in WAY is that none of us do that."

"We simply look each other in the eye without judgement, only empathy. We hold each other. It’s all I’ve ever wanted."

"As we emerged from lockdown, I went along to my first WAY event and then the WAY annual meeting where I’ve had the privilege to meet the most wonderful people and make some special, enduring friendships. 

Since then I’ve organised a couple of events in Glasgow. It’s so incredibly gratifying to bring people together. I just hate the thought of each of us sitting alone engulfed in our sorrow and isolation. Getting together feels like a ‘no brainer’. It makes me so happy to see people who’d been suffering alone meeting other people who ‘get it’.  

And now I’ve become a WAY volunteer – outreach and by hosting zoom meetings for new members. The grief of new members is so raw, so searing. 

I’d like to thank those new members who have shared their story with each other and with me. It’s a privilege and an honour to hold your pain."

Joining WAY

When you join WAY you’ll have access to a community of other widowed people who understand what you are going through. 

We are sorry you or a loved one needs to be here, but we all understand how difficult these times can be and we’re here for when you are ready.