“I was 27 when my husband Martin was diagnosed with cancer on his 31st birthday. Our son Arthur was just six months old.
I remember the day Martin was referred to Hospice in the Weald. We were visited by a Hospice in the Home nurse. To be honest I was really shocked and felt panicked. I thought a Hospice was just a place people went to die. The Hospice in the Home nurses were so supportive though and offered us a lot of advice. They explained about all of the Services Hospice in the Weald provided. They even gave advice on benefits and grants.
Martin wanted to stay at home until the end and Hospice in the Weald did everything they could to accommodate this but as Martin got more ill it became a lot harder. Arthur was now two years old and running round the house wanting to play and spend time with his daddy. It was very difficult.
It was my 30th birthday at the beginning of March and Martin came to my party. He was admitted to the Hospice In-Patient Ward the following Thursday. I’d been to Hospice in the Weald for Counselling Support but I had never been round to the In-Patient Ward. As we first arrived, a lovely volunteer from the ‘Welcome Team’ came out and looked after me. Emotionally and psychologically I wasn’t in the best place. After this she would always come and see me when she was in the Hospice.
Once on the Ward Martin really picked up! He had stopped eating at home but he even ate a hot meal that night. I don’t know what changed; maybe he knew the pressure was off me. We were all more relaxed. I could finally be Martin’s wife again, not just his carer, and equally as importantly I could focus on being a mum to Arthur. This meant so much, especially in Martin’s final few days.
Hospice Day Service played such an important part in not only supporting me at this challenging time but Arthur too. We wandered round from the Ward when we wanted to and took part in arts and crafts, which although messy, Arthur loved! I could spend time with Arthur knowing that Martin was being looked after. My family all painted ‘Forget Me Not’s’ and we worked with Hospice Day Service to create a hand cast of Martin and my hands moulded onto one another, something I will treasure forever. I like the idea that Arthur will be able to see what his daddy’s hand physically looked like. We are also building a memory box with support from Hospice Day Service so that Arthur has something else to help him remember his daddy.
We thought Martin only had days left but he spent three weeks on the In-Patient Ward. I can’t put into words how hard it is losing Martin at such a young age but all of Hospice in the Weald’s Services, and the amazing network of friends and family I have around me are a great comfort. Even the care I’m getting now following Martin’s death means so much to me. I felt so much that everyone at Hospice in the Weald not only cared for Martin but Arthur and me too."
Martin died peacefully on the In-Patient Ward at Hospice in the Weald on 28th March 17’