Jill and I first became close friends when we worked together in a solicitor’s office. When we were both relocated to a new office we decided to try sharing a home, as we both needed to move. We shared happily as friends for 35 years, so you can imagine how well we got on together.
It was a shock when we learned that Jill had to be referred to the Hospice because of her cancer, to be honest it was a traumatic time to start with. Her symptoms were difficult to manage. But I always found the In-Patient Ward to be a calm and quiet place, even during this time. There were always people on hand to help, and she never had to ask more than once for anything. We were able to make her comfortable quickly, and I visited her every day.
We were made to feel very welcome, and the staff and volunteers always included me – whether this was in providing me with lunch or keeping me informed. I was very well fed! The atmosphere was always relaxed and so you can feel at ease, as nothing was too much trouble. I experienced a tremendous amount of friendship, love and care, for both Jill and myself, from all of the staff and volunteers. I have never had so many hugs!
Jill spent just over seven weeks on the Ward and so I got to know some of the staff and volunteers quite well. I sometimes miss them – after spending so much time together and feeling so well supported, I almost think of them as friends.
As Jill became more unwell, I stayed at the Hospice day and night to be close to her. After living together for so long, this was very important to both of us. Being able to stay made the experience much less stressful for us both. Jill died very peacefully, which is exactly how she wanted.
Had we not been supported by the Hospice, it would have been a very different story. It would have been much harder for us both if I had tried to care for Jill at home – we simply needed more help. The staff and volunteers looked after us both, and this made a huge amount of difference.
Without Hospice in the Weald, our experience would have been much more difficult and stressful. Without a doubt, it was the best place for Jill.