Meet our volunteers – Louise Lautman

Louise Lautman – Bereavement support volunteer

My mother passed away at the hospice in 2010, and I started volunteering in 2012. I’d received bereavement support myself and knew that one day I’d want to give bereavement support to others, because of my background in psychology and psychosynthesis.  

The hospice made things so much easier for me when my mother was unwell. I’m an only child and don’t have much family around, so I felt like I was juggling 20 plates trying to deal with my job and caring for my mother and everything else. The hospice offered her three weeks of palliative care – they called it respite care, and I think it was for my respite as much as hers! That’s what inspired me to give back to the hospice, the support I was given. Also, because it’s where my mum passed away, I feel a connection to her there. 

There’s a lot of training to become a bereavement support volunteer, but it must be done, because it’s so important to be able to support people correctly. It’s a delicate time for people, and they don’t always know what they want from bereavement support. They might want support straight away, they might want it a few months later, it’s always different.  

I usually have between one and three clients at any one time, no more than three so I can fit them in with my other responsibilities. Volunteering is really important to me, giving back to the community is part of what I’d call my ‘spiritual bent’ – it’s a double whammy because you give but you also receive so much.