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Hospice Voices

Julie and Janet's story

Last Christmas was the first without my lovely Mum, Janet.

Like so many families, Mum was the centre of all things Christmassy, from the over extravagant gifts, incredible decorations, to way too much food on the table. She would always make her own Christmas pudding – and I haven’t found a shop bought one that can compete with it!

There is one truly magical Christmas memory that always reminds me of Mum. After months of waiting, hoping, longing, I came down on Christmas day to mum holding a big box, with a huge smile on her face. As she passed me the carefully wrapped gift, I could hardly contain my excitement. Mum had given me a Cindy doll house, the one with lots of wonderful dolls inside. I so happy and played with them for years. This is a treasured memory of Mum and the love she had for me.

And it was the unswerving love and care showed to mum by the nurses at the hospice that we were so thankful for during her final weeks. Their support meant that at the end I was able to be her daughter again, not her carer. This is something that has given me real strength over the past few months since her death and helped me process all that happened in a far more positive way. 

When Mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, my family and I were determined that we wanted to look after her. But what we did not know was how difficult it would be to look after someone who was dying. As my Mum’s health deteriorated, my visits increased from twice a day, to four times a day, to all day and overnight.

Mum was a very strong-willed and feisty woman, the true matriarch of our family. She knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to voice her opinion! Despite this, I realise now how scared she must have been during the last few weeks of her life, before going to the Hospice

I wanted to be able to care for her and hated the thought that I was letting her down by handing that care over to the Hospice. But I will be forever grateful to their nurses who immediately scooped my Mum up into their wonderful embrace. And me too.

When we arrived at the Hospice I was overwhelmed by their kindness, they embraced her needs and her personality which helped us share some special moments before she died.

Mum absolutely loved the three nurses who looked after her, she even affectionately called them her ‘3 degrees’! They would play Rod Stewart on Mum’s iPad, dancing and singing, having a laugh with her.

I cherish the last days and nights I spent with my Mum as her Daughter, where I could hold her hand, tell her stories, and just be with her. The Hospice nurses gave me my Mum back and enabled me to treasure every moment with her without the difficulties and stress of looking after her.

Without the help and incredible support from the Hospice I don’t know how we would have got through this tough moment in our family life. The emotional and physical impact was impossible to deal with alone, but the nurses were there when we needed them most.

Last Christmas was difficult in so many ways, our first without mum. But I was determined to keep the family traditions going, I even attempted to make her famous Christmas pud! As we enjoyed the big day we be raised a toast to Mum, her ‘three degrees’ and all the other nurses at the Hospice who were there when we needed them most, and will be there for you and your family and anyone else who needs them in the future.   

From my family to yours, I thank you for supporting the Hospice nurses.