“For months on end, you just walk around with a heart full of broken glass.”
Louise McOrmond-Plummer, of Lavington, remembers the despair and shock she felt after her husband Ken died from a rare form of cancer 21 months ago.
“Terrible wrenching sadness because it doesn’t just take away your partner, it takes away the future you had together,” she said.
“Ken was looking forward to retiring, we were going to go around Australia together and just be a couple growing old together.
“You absolutely do feel stunned, you literally can’t remember even whether you've showered.”
Mrs McOrmond-Plummer will share her experience during a grief awareness expo at Commercial Club Albury on August 30.
Putting The Pieces Together has been organised by Mercy Health Albury to acknowledge loss and promote resilience in the community.
Nick Dempsey, 22, who became a partial quadriplegic through a diving accident. will also take part along with speakers from CanTeen, which assists young people living with cancer, post-suicide support group StandBy Murray and the NSW mental health system.
Mercy Health Albury loss and grief support worker for palliative care Michelle Enright said the day aimed to link people who might be experiencing grief with appropriate support services.
“To tap into people’s ability to cope, rather than giving them a message they can’t cope,” she said.
“We’re living in a society that is very connected with media, but really when it comes to face to face and practical support, it’s still a little lacking.”
Mrs Enright said with loss came change, whether the circumstances were physical, such as a death, social or occupational, for example a divorce or job loss.
Mrs McOrmond-Plummer said the support of the palliative care team, seeing friends, adopting rescue cats and some projects in Ken’s memory proved helpful.
“Never turned a sewing machine on in my life, but I take patchwork classes because I’m making a quilt out of his clothes,” she said.
“I think what’s been really toughest is motivating myself to have a life and live it. You don’t want it, you don’t want this life without your loved one, you didn’t ask for it.”
Mrs McOrmond-Plummer encouraged people towards continuing bonds with those they had lost.
“While your loved one died, your relationship with them didn’t die,” she said.
“That was a real lifeline for me.
“I’d like people to know that I didn’t think I could do this for 21 minutes, but I’ve been doing it for 21 months, it is survivable.”
- For expo details and registration contact Sue on 0477 440 913 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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