Just getting out of bed and facing the day was hard for Liz York of Dairy Flat as she struggled to cope with the death of her husband Alan, and her grandmother, which occurred on consecutive days.
She describes the grief for her and her three young sons as “crippling” and remembers the feeling of despair clearly although it was 18 years ago; Alan (38) was killed in a car accident while driving home from Gisborne, after hearing from Liz that her grandmother had died.
“You get into a deep hole – it was like I had died too,” she says. “I had to keep going for my boys. I’d drop the kids at school and sit in the car crying.”
Eventually Liz found out about the Women in Grief Home Care Charitable Trust, which offered counselling and workshops. She offered to help and ended up running the service for almost a decade.
In 2011 she and a friend decided on a plan to “bring some joy into the grieving process” and, in 2014, the Feeling Fab Trust was born.
Its aim is to provide “heartfelt support through grief and loss”, which it does by providing pamper days.
Liz says at the start of the pamper sessions, women come in weighed down by grief, but that sharing their stories, being pampered and having fun means they leave with some of that burden lifted.
The groups are limited to 16 participants. Liz says that talking with others is the key. “In my view that’s why we have such a high suicide rate – because we don’t feel safe to share our stories,” she says.
Massage, makeup, a manicure and lovely food are just part of the package, which is provided in return for a koha as the service is not funded and run by volunteers.
Waste Management in Dairy Flat are a significant sponsor, providing their offices for the pamper days and covering the cost of catering.
Women who may enjoy the pampering days are nominated to take part by various organisations and then register themselves.
Liz says the service is in high demand and the Trust has been approached to run pamper days in Tauranga and Christchurch. “We are always looking for sponsors and volunteers to enable us to continue the programme.”