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Frank's story

After 70 years of marriage, retired civil servant Frank was lost when Iris died. He turned to us for help and a listening ear.
Frank's Story

Planning a celebration

It was the first week of December. Frank and Iris were approaching their 70th wedding anniversary. Although they were both a bit wobbly on their feet, they were determined to celebrate.
Nothing too fancy, just something nice to eat and a special drink to say cheers with. Just the two of them. Iris planned to make her famous carrot cake and Frank would hang some decorations. These were the party-planning roles they’d played for a lifetime.

Iris always hoped it would rain at her parties. When she was younger, it meant that everyone would huddle together inside, feeling cosy. All these years later, even though it was just the two of them, she was hoping for a storm.

Frank and Iris meant everything to each other. They’d met as teenagers at a noisy Christmas party and quickly became inseparable. They planned and took adventures together, making scrapbooks so they could look back. They were best friends. This party was going to celebrate 70 years of that.

The countdown had begun to their big day. There was a buzz in the air. Frank came downstairs to make two cups of tea and that’s when it happened.

A tragic day

He heard a thud on the stairs and found Iris unconscious. He tried hard to keep his voice and hands steady as he called for an ambulance but by the time it arrived it was too late. Iris passed away from a heart attack and Frank’s own heart never recovered.

Frank remembered the kindness that the Charity for Civil Servants had shown one of his colleagues many years ago. How we’d helped them when they were going through a tough time. Frank just wanted someone to talk to. He decided to give us a call.

Emotional and financial support

We were a listening ear for Frank when he needed us most. He had a long talk with our help and support team. As well as giving emotional support, they talked about the practical side of bereavement. Getting a medical certificate and registering Iris’s death seemed overwhelming to do alone. We were there to break things down, going one step at a time together.

Frank was also worried about paying for Iris’s funeral. They didn’t have enough money in savings to cover the expense so we were able to pay towards funeral costs. This gave Frank much-needed space to grieve without worrying about going into debt.

I wanted to talk to someone outside of it all. The Charity for Civil Servants felt like a good friend when I made that first phone call. It made me feel like I didn’t have to cope with it all on my own anymore.

Some elements of this story have been anonymised or changed to protect the person’s identity. 

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