The SOLACE ASSOCIATION INC. is a National self support group for those who have lost their partner through death. The Association was founded in Adelaide in 1993 and is now operating in most states in Australia.
When ones partner dies all “normal life” ceases in an instant. One member said “I had dinner with my husband on Wednesday night with every expectation of breakfasting with him Thursday morning. There was never anything as normal as breakfast together again. My husband had taken his own life on Wednesday night.” Another tells how “he walked hand in hand with his wife during her battle with cancer and nothing gave him any idea of how totally devastated he would feel when she died.”
Until one experiences such catastrophic happenings it is impossible to imagine the pain, the emotion of guilt, anger, self doubt and the many difficulties one has to face.
Unfortunately in our society there is an expectation that bereaved people should be “over” their grief in a matter of weeks or months. When someone is still seen as an emotional and physical wreak after twelve months it is often supposed that they are wallowing and should start pulling themselves together, pull their socks up and/or keep a stiff upper lip because life goes on and time heals.
SOLACE plays an important role in assisting bereaved people to understand the process of grief and to normalise this process.
SOLACE also provides a safe and confidential place for its members to come and talk about their feelings and problems.
It does not take long for family, friends and neighbours to tire of hearing about your feelings of desolation and loneliness. When people ask “How are you going?” they really hope you will say “fine” and what you often feel like saying is “hopeless”, “incredibly sad” or “bitter”.
At SOLACE we truly understand and will listen. It is important for grief to be acknowledged and worked through and the details need to be repeated over and over before we even start to come to terms with our loss.
SOLACE also provides the opportunity to start a new social life. Members sometimes find it too painful to visit with couples that previously made up their married social network. Old friends sometimes seem to drift away. This is because many couples feel uncomfortable with a newly bereaved friend because it makes them think of their own mortality.
SOLACE has a gentle safe social calendar where people can begin to make new friends and find new interests. Member’s ages range from 20 to 80 plus and come from all walks of life. In SOLACE we understand that grief is a great leveler and age is not really important.
The SOLACE phone number is (02) 9519 2820 and callers will be referred to a rostered volunteer support worker.