Every Precious Moment
A Mum’s most important job is to look after her children and keep them safe. Thanks to the Hospice, I was able to do the same for my Mum when she needed it.
When your loved ones approach the end of their life and need Hospice support, what precious moments will you look back on and treasure?
When Leeanne's Mum, Anne Marie, was diagnosed with Osephageal Cancer, she was just 47. The family had just returned from a family holiday in Florida. Anne Marie had been poorly whilst they were away but Leeanne and her family had no idea how serious this was.
Leeanne said 'We were devasted when we heard the news. Death and grief was not a journey I had expected to go through at this stage in my life. Both my parents were still young and my mum was only 47 when she was diagnosed with cancer'.
The doctors told Anne Marie she had less than a year left to live and she began a course of chemotherapy to extend her life. Anne Marie came to the Hospice after her first round of chemotherapy which hadn't gone well and she developed a life threatening condition. She had contracted sepsis in the blood. The Hospital got her through the intial stages of the illlness but she was incredibly weak and had lost a lot of weight. It was at this point we were referred to the Hospice.
Leeanne said ' We were so uncertain when the hospital first mentioned the Hospice. I thought that was it. I thought it would be a place that was dark and gloomy and full of death. But it really isn’t. It is the warmest, most welcoming celebration of life.'
'Mum was admitted to the In-Patient Ward on Boxing Day. Upon arrival everyone was so welcoming. They all knew her name and were expecting her arrival. Mum stayed on the Ward for a month. During this time the Hospice helped to build up her strength and fight the infection. She gradually became stronger and learnt to walk again. The nurses built her up and gave back her independence.'
Anne Marie became well enough to have an operation to remove the tumour thanks to the support of the Hospice and the family were able to enjoy two more years together creating precious memories instead of the 'less than a year' that they had been promised. Once her symptoms were under control she was discharged from the Ward and went home her with her family but continued to make regular visits to Hospice Day Service to see all the nurses who she had become so friendly with.
Our final birthday celebration
Thanks to the Hospice Anne Marie was well and able enough to mark a final special occasion with her family.
Leeanne said ' Mum and I shared the same birthday, the 1st April. Every year, we would have a race to see who would be first to wake up and call each other. In the April before she died, we were able to mark two special birthdays together, Mum’s 50th and my 30th. Mum was well enough to be discharged from the Ward and we had a family dinner at a local restaurant. There were 30 of us there and we had a two-tiered Micky Mouse birthday cake for the occasion. Mum loved anything to do with Disney. She collected memorabilia throughout her life. I will always be grateful that we were able share this special occasion together.
Several weeks after her birthday Anne Marie came back to the In Patient Ward in the final stages of life. She was comfortable being there and Leeanne and her family knew it was the right place for her. “There were no technical terms, no jargon, and we were told just as it was and how we were going to get through it together. Mum felt comforted too as she knew she didn’t have to worry about raising concerns - the nurses were always on hand and would notice if anything was wrong.
At this difficult time we would have struggled without the Hospice. They kept mum comfortable at the end but more importantly they kept Mum ‘Mum’, and I will never forget this.
Anne Marie died on the ward in May 2019. Leeanne and her family have continued to be supported by the Hospice through our Counselling Service and still make visits to the quiet room on a regular basis and light a candle for her Mum.
Leeanne said 'I will never be able to repay the Hospice for the time I had with Mum, for the loving care they showed her and our family, and for the care that they have continue to provide since her death'.
Please, help families like Leeanne’s enjoy the precious time they have together with a donation to Hospice in the Weald.