East Lancashire Hospice

Marie Kitchen

My mother spent her last 5 days of life at the hospice after only being diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer 4 weeks prior. Mum was transferred for the hospital for end of life care, I travelled with my Mum in the ambulance and 5 other family members followed. My Mum and I arrived first and as soon as we were in reception I crumbled, it was a mix of shock, relief and fear and distinctly remember some arms coming from behind and holding me, it was one of the staff nurses who said: 'let us look after Mum now, you just need to be with her'.

Mum was so poorly when she arrived, going between being confused and unconcious. However, her medication was sorted and the first evening she sat up in bed and had a bowl of delicious soup and orange juice, the first things she had eaten in days and her confusion eased so we had another two days talking with mum and her knowing we were there, which now is a massive comfort to us.

The staff and volunteers treated us all with such great care and respect and it is something we will always be grateful for. We even got advice on how to tell my two children that their Grandma was going to die very soon, and they both came to the hospice. My son did not want to know which room his Grandma was in but he had a look round and we showed him an empty room so he could picture where she was. My younger daughter did come and see her Grandma when she was sleeping and I was able to spend time with her in the family room watching TV and playing games. My Aunt and I stayed with Mum constantly and we felt completely at home, helping ourselves to brews and snacks and ordering our meals.

On Mum's second day, she was wheeled in her bed into the lounge so we could all have lunch together. Again this is a memory myself and my brothers Stephen and Damian will treasure as it was the last time we had a family meal.

Every person we came into contact with, including medics, nursing staff, hospice staff and volunteers truly enhanced our experience and we have taken great comfort in this. From the volunteer who put ice cubes in our jugs of water to the nursing staff who spent such a long time washing and moisturising Mum.

The hospice is where I got to spend my final time with Mum and got the opportunity to talk about our memories, what a wonderful Mum she has been and we got to tell each other how much we loved each other. We have some very funny memories, which was not expected, including my Mum asking if the jelly was kosher. We are not Jewish we are Catholic!

My family and I can never, ever repay for the care and support shown to Mum and us, her family during her time there, but it has helped with our grieving and we will always provide support whenever we can.

Louise Gregson

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