‘You don’t have to cope alone’

sp93172 Sheila Cunliffe with a picture of son James
sp93172 Sheila Cunliffe with a picture of son James

A WOMAN who lost her son to drugs is launching a support group to help others bereaved in the same way.

Sheila Cunliffe wants to stamp out stigma attached to drugs-related deaths - and reach out to those devastated as she was when James, 23, died four years ago.

‘Forget Me Not’, to meet the first Monday every month in Chesterfield, aims to show people they don’t have to struggle alone.

“If people are scared I want to say I’m scared too - we are all in the same boat,” said Sheila, of Laurence Close, Old Whittington.

“Come and start talking and if you cry, we’ve got lots of tissues, and it’s okay to laugh.

“That’s what I couldn’t come to terms with, I thought I had no right to laugh, no right to be happy after what happened.

“It’s about learning to cope because you never get over it, you can’t bring them back.”

The group is for anybody who has had a loved one die through drugs, whether they were dependent on substances or social users. And tragedy could have struck six weeks or 16 years ago.

Sheila, 59, wanted to help as there is little face-to-face support available for people to come to terms with their pain, share memories and coping methods.

She added: “If you’re talking to someone going through the same thing it makes you feel like you don’t have to cope alone.”

l The group’s first meeting is on December 5, from 5.30-7.30pm.

For more details and the venue call Sheila on 07565 563436.

By Ellen Beardmore