"Ashgate Hospicecare made my mum's last weeks as good as they could be and gave me the opportunity to make amazing memories with her right to the end."
Around this time two years ago, as all the excitement for Christmas was building around me, I felt my world crumble. My amazing mum, Joan, had been living with a debilitating condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for some time, but Christmas 2017 was a turning point. She had developed sepsis and pneumonia and suddenly became seriously unwell, but she didn't want to spend any time in hospital because she didn’t want to be away from her family.
It was a really scary time for us, but thankfully, mum pulled through. Until then, we had done everything we could to keep her comfortable, but it was only a matter of time before her condition got worse again.
As soon as we walked through the doors of the hospice, we both felt a huge pressure lift. We knew instantly that her medical needs would be taken care of and that meant Dad and I could give her the emotional support she needed when she felt scared about what was to come. Mum really wanted me by her side and so when the staff said I could stay as long as I wanted, the fear on mum’s face disappeared.
I stayed with mum every night while she was in the hospice. We were totally overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and care – not just from the medical professionals, but all the staff, volunteers and the housekeepers who came in to clean the rooms.
I’m in no doubt that the compassion we were shown by everyone at Ashgate Hospicecare eased our emotional pain and made all the difference to my family. With mum receiving all the medical care she needed on the ward, it gave us the time to have long talks and grieve together. We watched ‘Watership Down’ in her room – something that was on her bucket list – and we even had cinema snacks! That’s just one of the many happy memories of my time with mum at the hospice which meant so much to us both.
The last days and hours were incredibly hard but also filled with love and warmth. As a family, we stayed by her side, recalled all the fun things that mum had done and she responded to our laughter.
Mum died peacefully in the hospice with all of us surrounding her. Our grief is indescribable but I am so grateful to Ashgate Hospicecare for giving us those final days together, filled with lovely memories to cherish forever.
As a family, we have been able to cope with our loss because of the incredible support we all received from Ashgate Hospicecare. I can’t even begin to imagine how families get through such a tragic time without that support.
This Christmas, instead of remembering how poorly mum was two years ago, I will remember the special moments we shared, thanks to Ashgate Hospicecare, and the incredible generosity of our community who support the hospice.
Will you help keep families together this Christmas?
The hospice is under increasing strain to provide care and support to patients and their families both in their own homes and within the hospice. Supporting our Christmas Appeal is one of the ways you can ensure Ashgate Hospicecare is here for the future. Your regular donation will help many more people in our community receive the best possible care when the worst happens. Here for now. Here for the future. Thanks to you.