Making an unbearable journey bearable – Jo and Melissa’s story
Our parents were inseparable. They enjoyed 55 years of marriage, Tony, our father working as boat builder in Emsworth for 40 years, and our mother as a ballet teacher. They were enjoying a cruise when Dad became ill, and when they returned to the UK, his tests revealed a large brain tumour. He received care at home and was in relatively little pain.
The Hospice Community Team were so compassionate and even though our father was initially concerned about receiving care, soon he was asking when ‘the girls’ would be in to care for him. His illness developed and from diagnosis to when he died was just over two months. It was shocking and frightening at the time, especially as it was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but the St Wilfrid’s team supported us as a family so kindly, taking the time to explain and be flexible.
Just two months later, our mum Jenny was also ill. Her cancer had returned and was widespread. She walked the Moonlight Walk with us in her wheelchair and the next day came to the Hospice for her end of life care.
The Hospice Community Team, who had cared for our father, supported her even though they couldn’t visit due to COVID restrictions. She said ‘it felt like a warm hug, even though they couldn’t hug’. The Hospice team enveloped our mother, and us, with expert care. She loved the special bath at the Hospice – she hadn’t been able to get into the bath at home- and looking out into the gardens, and the milky tea was served just how she liked it.
If someone was to tell you that you were going to lose both of your parents in a short period you would never imagine you would be able to cope. The Hospice support made it possible to cope but also to be there with our parents. It made an unbearable journey bearable.
For many people, Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions, and that will definitely be the case for us this year. We’ll remember Mum and Dad and support St Wilfrid’s Hospice by taking part in the Light Up a Life service.
St Wilfrid’s helped our family through such a difficult Christmas. Your support allows St Wilfrid’s Hospice to continue providing care for patients and families as well as time to listen and chat, helping them make the most of the life they have left.
With warm thanks, Jo and Melissa
Daughters of Tony and Jenny Clark
We hope this story demonstrates how important the work of St Wilfrid’s Hospice is in our community, and how vital your generosity in supporting our charity really is. The messages we receive from patients and loved ones, particularly during the pandemic, makes all our hard work worthwhile.
Please give what you can to our Christmas Appeal to support St Wilfrid’s Hospice. Any amount is gratefully received, as every pound you can give will help us to deliver vital care to people living with terminal illness and their loved ones.