BLOG: Looking after the big issues and the small details
In a special series this Hospice Care Week, 37-year-old Victoria Hornby talks about her experience of St Catherine’s, which cared for her beloved mum Elaine, aged only 55. In her final blog, she talks about the special memories created at the hospice in her mum’s final days.
When we first arrived at the hospice, we were both scared of what was going to come – absolutely petrified. I would end up in tears, worried about those final days and final moments, and the nurses would reassure me and try their best to prepare me for what was to come.
They also went above and beyond to help us celebrate special occasions, such as making us an amazing Afternoon Tea for Mother’s Day. They wanted to provide something enjoyable for us on what was actually such a sad day, because we both knew that was going to be our last Mother’s Day together. It meant the world to us, and it’s something that I will remember and be grateful for forever.
Mum’s birthday was the day before she passed away. The room was decorated with banners and balloons and the nurses went out of their way to get a birthday cake and a card signed by them all. They all gathered round to sing Happy Birthday which was so lovely.
The hospice chapel means a lot to me as well. Whilst my mum was sleeping I would often visit it to light a candle for her and just sit there and reflect. Since losing my Mum, the chapel has become a place of comfort to me and somewhere I can go to remember her and to light a candle in her honour, look at her name in the book of condolence and write a butterfly card for the special memorial tree.
My biggest fear had been that my mum would suffer at the very end, but I was with her, holding her hand to the moment she took her last breath, and I know she wasn’t in any pain.
She was only 55 when I lost her. I feel lucky I had my mum for 34 years of my life but I also feel robbed and wonder why life is so cruel. Despite this heartache, I would never have such precious and actually happy memories from what can only be described as the toughest times of our lives, if it wasn’t for the care and compassion of St Catherine’s.
It’s so important to regularly donate, even if you just give the cost of a takeaway each month, because you never know when something like cancer is going to affect you or one of your loved ones, and when you might need the help of this wonderful charity.
Victoria has been sharing her experience this Hospice Care Week to help us raise awareness about what hospices stand for, what they’re really like, and the importance of our communities supporting independent local charities like St Catherine’s. If you would like to give a monthly donation from as little as £3 to help us be there for families like Victoria’s now and in the future, please click here.