When ACET first started there was no support like that for anybody, the staff would come to me at my house and at first I didn’t know what to think of them.
My husband didn’t want them coming to the house but the one thing we knew was they wanted to help us and they would. It took time to get to know them but they became a support for me and my whole family. They would help my sister who was on tablets at the time and even my ma if she needed help with something.
They helped my husband a lot. At the start he wouldn’t talk to anyone but over time he started talking to Moyra, one of the care staff, and they really clicked. Moyra would come up to the house when my husband was sick, she would come in and rub his legs when they were swollen. I remember at Christmas time he was very sick and I didn’t know that he was dying. Moyra told me he was getting sicker and sicker and she said a prayer with us, that meant a lot. After he died ACET helped with the funeral. I stayed in the flat for three months after that I didn’t want to go out, I couldn’t face going anywhere.
I went to loads of counsellors and psychologists and the only one who did anything for me was Vivienne. When I would go to see her she would just hug me and I could just feel the love from her. The things I couldn’t talk about to anyone would just spill out of me when I was with Vivienne.
There were other ways that ACET used to help. They were great they would bring us down the country for a break. We went away one time to a cottage and I can remember I made coddle and I made so much it was enough to last for the two days we were down there. When we were there we would draw things to express how we were feeling, it was a great place to be. During our time down there someone would take the kids out to do activities and the mothers would have a space to talk cause I couldn’t talk in front of my kids. At the start we were like kids ourselves, nobody wanted to talk first but when we got comfortable with everyone we could talk about all sorts. The weekends away were a great relief and a laugh.
I’ve had volunteers come to me as well over the years. About five years ago I had a group in to help paint the flat. Well you see I thought they were professional so
I was pointing out ‘you missed a spot there’ or ‘you forgot to cut in that corner’. Then I found out they were volunteers so I just made them cups of tea the whole time and the job ended up taking three days!
ACET staff and volunteers have always been good to me they bring me to the chemist or to the doctor and at Christmas they’ve always looked after us with food and a hamper. When there were ever gaps between ACET staff I always really felt it and you’d know how good the support was when it was gone for a little while. The staff at ACET are like friends, they’re part of the family, well they’re part of my family and I’m a better person because of that support.