They took care of us all

Date Published: 20th December 2016

“At 85 years young Dad was fit, healthy and enjoying life surrounded by his family. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer we were all devastated but he courageously told us he had the big C and would get on and deal with it.

Following Dad’s diagnosis, we sought advice from various people and an Occupational Therapist suggested he visit Teesside Hospice as a day patient to which Dad replied, ‘No, I’d rather stay at home.’ When she explained it could also offer support to his family he soon changed his mind and agreed to go, his family always came first. The day came for Dad’s first visit, it was a frightening prospect so Mam and I went with him but the moment we walked in all our fears went, it was amazing, we felt cared for.

Dad attended the Edward and Glenis Guy Day Care Centre at Teesside Hospice every Thursday from February until June. He was cared for by such lovely people in a happy environment where his symptoms and medication were monitored, helping with any issues he had which gave us the confidence to be strong. Each week when we picked him up he would be busy chatting to friends he had made of all different ages with different illnesses and we found ourselves staying longer each time! In turn, Mam and I joined the Carers Group which was great and helped us cope with Dad’s illness.

Many people think a Hospice is a place people go to die but this isn’t the case and I wanted my children and other family members to understand. They came to visit Dad and were given the courage, like Mam and I, to deal with the changes in his illness and their own thoughts and feelings. Agreeing to go to the Hospice was a hard decision to make but it was the best for Dad and all of us.

At first Dad’s wish was to die at home but this soon changed and he wanted to be in the Hospice instead. On 13th June he was admitted onto the Inpatient Unit and five days later he peacefully passed away in no pain and with dignity. He was such a proud gentleman with a lovely sense of humour which he kept until the end and I know that was because of the care he received. He was happy and it meant that our adorable Husband, Dad and Grandad passed away having had the very best care in the best surroundings. In life Dad was the perfect gentleman and with thanks to the Hospice he died that way.

Throughout Dad’s time at Teesside Hospice the Care Team were there for my whole family physically and emotionally as well. We were able to create lifelong, happy memories and have no fear of dying now. Dad’s Key Nurse, Thelma, suggested to my 11-year-old daughter Leah to create a memory box for her Grandad. She sat her down and explained what this meant and then together, with her Grandad, Leah created her memory box including ‘Grandads smelly socks’ – out of sadness we truly had laughter.

We said our final goodbye to Dad at his funeral on Saturday 28th June which just happened to fall on the same day as Teesside Hospice’s Starlight Stroll – we didn’t think there would be a better way to honour his legacy than give something back to the place that helped us all so much. Our world fell apart but the Hospice put it back together.”

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