Liz, Jason’s mum, and Jo, Jason’s Wife, have kindly agreed to share Jason’s story with you this season
Liz, Jason’s mum:
Jason was always determined. He knew he wanted
to be in the Army from an early age. He did a tour
of Afghanistan. I never watched the news while he was away, I didn’t want to know. He told me that I wouldn’t see anything bad on the news though, that they would send someone, so I had a doorbell installed specially so that I wouldn’t miss anyone who came to the door.
Jo, Jason’s wife:
He started getting stomach pains in May 2020. He researched it on the internet and initially thought it was IBS or something similar.
Then we were hiking up Scafell Pike for my birthday, we were walking quite a difficult route and he couldn’t do it. I thought to myself that’s strange, and then on the 6 hour drive back home he was in pain. He was having investigations at the time of his 31st birthday in June and I bought him a puppy, Odin the Australian Kelpie. Then on 15th July we found out it was cancer.
I was a bit concerned because they
put us in the nice room at the hospital
to tell us, and that’s never good. It was bowel cancer and had progressed to a late stage. It was at that point they mentioned hospice care. All the doctors and nurses left us alone after that and Jason and I just looked at each other, like, what?
The first time he came home from the hospital after treatment, we said shall we get married? I went into overdrive organising and 9 weeks later we were married in Chichester, in September 2021. It was a perfect day. I’d been worrying about things like napkins but actually when it was just us at the altar, nothing else mattered. We thought he was going to collapse at one point but it was ok and he looked really handsome in his suit.
Jason came in and out of St Wilfrid’s several times,
maybe 5 or 6, it’s a bit of a blur. At first, I thought that when he went to the Hospice he was never coming out again, but then I understood more that they could manage his pain and symptoms. I never thought he would love it and find so many friends here. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, always asking ‘are you ok?’. At one point Jason had two syringe drivers, which he was very proud of! The medication helped him to be more comfortable and settled.
Liz: He was strong for everyone else, he sent me
voicemails every day as his fingers got tingly and
numb so he couldn’t text easily. He used to send
me motivational quotes every day! He taught us
stoicism. His favourite quotes were ‘amor fati’ and
‘memento mori’, which are about loving your fate
and remembering that you have to die.
Jo: He died in battle in a weird way. He fought so
hard against the cancer, he had so much medication and he was so strong. We are so proud of him. He’s in Valhalla with his fallen comrades. I think people think bowel cancer won’t affect you if you are under a certain age. After Jason had it, it highlights that bowel cancer is happening to younger people. I’ve met other younger people who have also lost their partner to bowel cancer.
This place is special.
It’s completely different to other hospices even, it’s more like a home. Andy, Jason’s nurse, and Joe, from the Family Support Team, were really good friends to Jason. Andy would call me every time Jason went into hospital and say ‘You ok?’. It’s like being at home here, but in a more comfortable setting. You don’t have to worry about the washing being over there or doing the dishes. It’s so calm here and you can focus on the person.
When he died in March, his funeral was so full, people were out the door. His brothers and friends carried him in. We had his favourite music and everything he would have wanted. We decided we would keep him with us.
Liz: I have his ashes in my ring, and Jo has his ashes in her tattoo.
Jo: Plus we’ve taken his ashes to all his favourite
places; his favourite festival Boomtown and Scafell. This Christmas will be our first Christmas without him, so I think we will do something a bit different.
Jo: Jason lived for life and made the most of it. He
drummed into us that he was invincible and he could do anything. To anyone who supports St Wilfrid’s Hospice, I’d say keep supporting them. What they’ve done for Jason — for us — we couldn’t have asked for more. Life’s short and you only get one go.