It only needed one meeting for me…

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I first met Gary the week after my husband died. I was searching for a minister to conduct the memorial service about him and a friend recommended Gary. It only needed one meeting for me to realise this was a man of true empathy and sensibility, who was not judgemental about my non-religious leanings.  He listened, let me talk through my strong opinions I wanted in a service to remember my charismatic and idiosyncratic husband and then gently guided me through a suggested format, which balanced my wishes and with an appropriate spiritual input, in the midst of my ‘stiff upper lip’ grief.

Apart from his soft counselling side, he demonstrated a pragmatic can-do talent to organise the availability of the small church overlooking the sea, which I had set my heart on as a perfect venue. I know this was not without many bureaucratic hurdles but Gary persevered to the very last minute.

His sermon was memorable. He didn’t preach, he didn’t talk about death but he did make an impact on all the congregation, as he subtly talked about how one can cope with grief, however many different ways we feel it. I know that many of my friends and family members were uplifted as they left the church.

Since that day, Gary has kept in touch – this has not been in a ‘counselling’ mode, but because he is genuinely caring and astute, whilst I regard myself as someone who can cope quite well on my own, he knows otherwise! I enjoy our discussions which range over all sorts of local and world matters apart from family and feelings and it helps that we seem to have the same sense of humour. In my eyes, he is not only a professional counsellor with wide life experiences but a very warm and supportive person.