Anne’s Dad was cared for at Duchess of Kent Hospice. Here, she shares her memories.
“On 27th December 2016 I had a call from my brother. “Dad’s gone into Duchess of Kent Hospice,” he said. It was a defining moment for our entire family: a moment of fear for us, with the realisation that Dad’s cancer really had taken hold.
“I imagined the hospice to be a kind of old-fashioned old folks’ home, smelling of last night’s dinner and filled with sadness. In reality, I couldn’t be more wrong.
“Greeted by warm, friendly staff and helped into his cheerful room with the sun streaming in and a view of the beautifully-tended garden view, it was clear Dad felt safe and comfortable at Duchess of Kent Hospice.”
“For the next few weeks, our family spent a lot of time at the hospice. We’d come in and Doctor Helen would be holding his hand, listening to him and softly explaining what was happening to him as his once-sporty, now-frail self began fading away.
“Dad charmed the nurses and volunteers, asking them about themselves and filling us in on their lives as they gently bustled around us, always smiling, always calm – these kind, compassionate people who must grow so fond of so many patients but are faced with goodbyes every day.
“The hospice became a sanctuary to us during the last few weeks of Dad’s life. They removed fear and made us all feel safe.
“Slowly deteriorating, Dad took his last breath in the hospice in January 2017, with us having spent the day by his side chatting, laughing and sharing our memories. If you could choose a way to go, that would be pretty much it.
“Fittingly, the hospice had been an antenatal hospital many years ago, and Dad had been born there – a real circle of life.
“Please support this wonderful charity, which has such a positive impact on the lives of so many people.”