Jo Robinson’s Dad, Terry, was referred to Rowcroft last year and for six months he and his family were supported to spend precious time together, living as well and comfortably as possible during the most challenging days imaginable.
Jo has remembered Terry with a yellow Calendula in Rowcroft’s Meadow of Memories and explained, for this blog, what moved her and her family to do so.
“My darling Dad, Terry, lived for nine years beyond his diagnosis of Prostate Cancer. For eight of those years he lived reasonably comfortably, embracing each day and enjoying time spent with our Mum and wider family and friends. Inevitably the disease progressed and six months before he died he was referred to the palliative care team at Rowcroft Hospice. Sue, his palliative care nurse, began visiting Dad and Mum regularly and quickly became significant in their lives. She became the person that they could ‘look to’ when issues arose and was able to liaise between the many disciplines involved in Dad’s care. She was encouraging, honest and sympathetic in helping them to navigate Dad’s remaining months.
Just before Christmas 2015 Dad spent ten days at Rowcroft whilst his medication was adjusted and so that he could have some rest. We were all in awe of the tender, loving care shown not only to Dad, but to us all as his family. Dad came home but deteriorated rapidly and it became clear that he was facing the end of his life. ‘Hospice at home’ immediately picked up caring for him and for a week my Mum and Dad’s home became a place where highly trained and skilled practitioners delivered expert care with respect, sincerity and sensitivity. Nothing was too much to ask. Looking back now I feel we were carried through what was a desperately sad time. I cannot imagine how we would have done it without that amazing team of people.
Throughout life Dad always expressed gratitude for the good things in it, not least, health care. It came as no surprise to hear him say just a few days after he arrived at Rowcroft, “How lucky am I to live in a place where a provision like this exists.” And he meant it with every ounce of his being.
For me the hospice will always be the significant chapter at the end of Dad’s life. The countless acts of kindness between staff, volunteers, patients and relatives; the peace and calm created by the beautiful environment; the space provided for those who have lost a loved one to begin, and continue, their grief journey ... can all be summed up, in a way, by the Meadow of Memories. I was cautious about this when I first heard about it as my grief was so raw that I could not imagine being able to share in such an event. But, of course, the reality of being in the company of people whose stories were so different but who had an unspoken shared experience of loss was painful, yes, but reassuring, liberating and beautiful too.
My Mum chose the yellow Calendula wild flower to be sown in memory of my Dad and seeing those amazing golden yellow blobs amongst all the other flowers over several weeks was just so uplifting and was a powerful reminder that my Dad was an amazing man amongst many amazing people. There is a sense in which Dad is at home amongst the wildflowers that feed the birds and the bees...all the things he loved so much. And the seeds sown year on year are a very vital way of keeping his memory alive.”
To support Rowcroft Hospice by dedicating a flower to someone who you loved, and still love, dearly, please visit www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/meadow.