Why we walk… by Barbara Higgs
I’m walked in Moonlight Walk 2021 for St. Wilfrid’s in memory of my husband, Tony. He died in February 2021, 14 months after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. Because of Covid most of that time was spent at home with only me for company. We were really sad that we couldn’t access any of the activities the hospice usually offers to support people with life limiting illnesses. Tony really liked the sound of reflexology and I would have liked someone else to make me a cup of tea!
He spent a few days at the hospice last summer to recover from a surgical procedure in hospital. That gave him the opportunity to see how the hospice worked but also to have a few days away from me. He could stop trying to be the strong husband and focus on his own needs for a change. The staff were so supportive and understood his need to grieve for the life he was losing. He felt safe at St. Wilfrid’s, both physically and emotionally. Tony was also in the hospice for a few days before he died so he felt the kindness and care again. It is clear from his communication notebook that the staff took the time to understand his writing, interpret the message and to talk with him. It was important to me that I could trust them to look after him as a whole person as well as meeting his medical needs.
The St. Wilfrid’s team doesn’t just disappear when someone dies. They understand that the family still need support and comfort and I have experienced that. I will always be grateful that they were there when we needed them and they gave Tony that safe place to share his anxieties.
I’m doing the Moonlight Walk with our two daughters. Because of Covid they hardly saw their Dad while he was ill (it’s just not the same on Facetime!) so we are walking together, on what would have been our Golden Wedding Anniversary, to remember the man but also to help the hospice that looked after him and so many other people.