Rowcroft Ambassador Carolyn Williams lost her husband, David, to cancer in 2012. Thanks to Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home team her family were able to make special memories with David in his last few weeks of life; memories that the whole family continue to remember when they’re feeling sad and missing David – a treasured dad, brother, granddad, uncle and husband.
Here is Carolyn’s story…
“Every year in summer, the garden is full of rivers of bluebells and forget-me-nots, trees and shrubs are bright green and the same anniversaries and family birthdays come round. There are bank holidays when families and couples enjoy time together. This year, 2016, has been more poignant than ever.
Just before Christmas 2011, my apparently fit, healthy, non -smoking, doctor husband developed a collection of odd symptoms and felt ‘not quite right’. We had a new grandson and were planning for our retirement life within a couple of years, life was good. It was shattering to receive a diagnosis of terminal cancer from a lung primary. Through early 2012 chemotherapy and radiotherapy made little difference and in desperation with unpleasant cocktails of drugs and side effects we started our amazing relationship with Rowcroft Hospice.
After meeting a community nurse who arranged an outpatient appointment with a Rowcroft Consultant in Palliative Care, the mountain of medication which we were managing by spreadsheet was reduced to tolerable levels. Soon there was an emergency hospital admission followed by a transfer to the Rowcroft Inpatient Unit for a week of symptom and medication control. I vividly remember the evening of that admission; leaving the frenzied hospital ward and being taken by ambulance to the cool, calm atmosphere of Rowcroft, being welcomed by the nurses who were like angels to us.
A week later our home had been transformed into a comfortable, but well equipped, mini ward and the entire family including new grandson moved in to spend our last few days together. With the home comforts and support of Rowcroft Hospice the few days stretched into weeks and wonderful memories were made. Family, friends, colleagues and neighbours visited, plans were made, instruction books written, practicalities dealt with and family birthdays and our wedding anniversary were celebrated. We had barbecues on the patio and forget-me-nots just kept filling the garden. The Hospice at Home team were there at the end and were so supportive and in tune with all the differing needs of family members.
2016 would have been our 40th wedding anniversary, there is now another grandson and our daughters have both achieved success in their careers of which their father would be so proud. A special niece just celebrated her 30th birthday without her godfather.
We shall always miss David on these occasions, but through the wonderful support of Rowcroft Hospice we have so many special memories made through those extra days lived so well. They add to our ‘favourite things’ which definitely lift our spirits when we are feeling sad. We will always be so thankful that we found Rowcroft Hospice.”
Carolyn is now an Ambassador for Rowcroft and regularly gives talks and presentations about the work the hospice does within the local community. If you would like to find out more about your local hospice, you can arrange a talk from a Rowcroft Ambassador to present to your school, community group or business. Get in touch by emailing Debbi on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.