Tim and Gill's story
Two years ago, at just 40 years old, Simon was hit with the news that he had a second brain tumour and it was incurable. His life changed in an instant and his family’s world was turned upside down. Here Tim and Gill, Simon’s parents, talk about their experiences at the Hospice.
To begin with, Gill and Tim cared for him at home successfully, with the help of the Hospice in the Home team. “Every Thursday, we had a brilliant nurse come and visit us. It sounds strange but we almost looked forward to them coming.”
As Simon’s needs changed, it became more difficult to care for him at home. It became obvious to Tim and Gill that the In-Patient Ward was the best place for him. Simon came to stay at the In-Patient Ward in July.
“We were all so welcomed. The staff couldn’t do enough for Simon, and for us too. We were all looked after, as a whole family. As a parent, you think that no one will ever look after your children like you do. But coming here to the Ward at the Hospice, we’ve seen that they do.”
“Being on the Ward helped take some of our worries away and meant we could focus on spending time together. At just 6 years old, Simon’s daughter Ellie was able to spend time with her Daddy and come to terms with what was happening. Simon adored Ellie and was always talking about her. He always wanted to be a Dad and was over-the-moon the day she arrived. It was wonderful to watch them spend time together.”
When Ellie first visited Simon on the Ward, she was given her own badge with ‘Special Nurse Ellie’ on it. ‘Special Nurse Ellie’ has made a fantastic addition to our workforce, brightening the smiles of patients, family and friends and staff as she made her way round the Ward, delivering tea and cake and offering cuddles with Rosie, her toy hamster.
Ellie, who wants to be a nurse at Hospice in the Weald when she grows up, also helped Simon eat his meals and assisted the nurses in applying an eye patch that he needed over his eye.Gill tells us that Ellie also had a special yellow flower she picked from the Hospice gardens. “She held it against her Daddy’s head and Simon told her it made the pain go away. My son is one of the bravest people that I know.”
Simon’s dad, Tim, said, “We didn’t expect Ellie to understand this much. She’s been amazing. We have to thank the nurses; they’ve really gone above and beyond for her. I know that Ellie wouldn’t have coped how she has without the people here.”
One of the nurses also helped her make a hand cast of her hand holding Daddy’s, and she’s made a charm with both their fingerprints on it.
“Simon’s terminal illness has been incredibly difficult and has overwhelmed family life at times. It can be impossible to treasure time with loved ones whilst balancing the worries of caring for someone. The care of the Hospice enabled us to make memories that would have been impossible otherwise.”
Simon died in September whilst staying on the In-Patient Ward. Tim, Gill and Ellie have shared their story to remember Simon as part of our Light up a Life campaign this year, which is about coming together to remember loved ones. You can find more information here: www.hospiceintheweald.org.uk/fundraise/event/light-up-a-life-2019