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Mary's Story

Mary, who shared her story during her care on the In-Patient Ward in April 2022, explained how her life-long love of nature continued to help her find joy and contentment throughout her terminal illness.
Mary in the Garden admiring the daffodils

“My family come first and foremost; they always have. I’m comforted that they don’t have to worry about me as much whilst I’m being cared for here. Now we’re enjoying sharing precious time together. They’re wonderful. I hope that when I’m gone, my family will always remember just how much they meant to me.

It’s hard for us all, but one has to face these things and take each day as it comes. I try to stay as positive as possible, even though I don’t always feel like it. I’m constantly reminded of the good things in life. The moments I’ve shared with so many special people. I’m reminded by photos, one of my three little grandchildren in the bath together, giggling, will always be in my mind, toys they’ve made and other funny trinkets.

I’ve gathered these reminders and hung them on my happy tree at home. It’s a Christmas tree but I’ve filled it with the memories that are important to me. It helps me to overcome the negativity in life and forget about the worry that living with a terminal illness can often cause.

“I adore my garden but, I can’t be in it right now. So, my family have brought pots full of my favourite flowers, all from my garden, that are now sat outside my room here at the Hospice where I can enjoy them.”

Mary in the garden with Jo, and her daughter

I can’t move like I used to and walk around the gardens, so being able to go outside, with the help of Jo, the physiotherapist, was wonderful. There were so many of my favourite flowers from primroses to daffodils, spring is a wonderful time, and it’s so important to me to be able to enjoy it. Just to sit, feel that warm sun, the birds singing, the smell of fresh flowers and cut grass; that was just heaven. I could have sat there for hours and drank in the warmth. It was perfect. There are some worth getting exhausted for and that’s one of them.

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved nature. I loved nothing more than running about in the fields, looking at buttercups, daisies and birds’ nests, enjoying the freedom of being in nature. My husband and I loved walking, we went on lots of walking holidays. Just to stop and appreciate wonderful things is such a privilege; our world is so beautiful. From tiny flowers to grand mountains, that is one of the wonders of life.

“Being amongst these wonderful things you can completely forget the negativity because you’re surrounded by so much positivity. It’s as if I’m a different me out there, I feel so content.”

Without the Hospice, I wouldn’t have been able to do a fraction of what I’ve been able to. Every single person here couldn’t do more to make me feel comfortable. They keep me buoyed up somehow. They are just angels, helping me to stay positive.

My advice to someone dealing with terminal illness would be to always focus on the positive. Don’t let the negativity take over. If you’re able to do that it can help with the last part of your journey in life. We don’t want this to happen, but it helps me to accept it by remembering what is important to me. My children, my grandchildren, my family, my beautiful little garden and being able to be outside, taking in breaths of fresh air and listening to the birds’ chorus.”

Mary died in May and we have worked with her family to share this story in her memory.