Hospice nurse helped Tracy open up to her family about funeral wishes
A Penwortham mum who opened up to her St Catherine’s nurse following a cancer diagnosis said the charity’s support helped her to talk about important plans with her own family.
Tracy Osborne, 44, felt more reassured and better prepared for the future after honest and emotional conversations about her hopes and fears with her Clinical Nurse Specialist, Chelle Cushing.
Tracy’s funeral took place on April 30 with a beautiful horse and carriage as she had wished, after she was able to open up to her loved ones about sensitive and difficult subjects like her end-of-life plan.
St Catherine’s Hospice is now encouraging everyone to think about what’s important to them this Dying Matters Awareness Week, and to tell three people about their own personal wishes and preferences for the future; from the small details to the bigger issues.
Before she died, Tracy shared her story to help people feel less afraid and nervous when talking about death and dying.
“I tended to cope with things by laughing everything off, but deep down I was really struggling,” she explained. “I tried to stay positive for my husband, son and daughter, but I was feeling really worried about what to expect.
“Sometimes it’s easier to talk with someone who understands what you’re going through but isn’t going to get upset. I asked Chelle lots of questions and she reassured me so much; it’s also good to know that I’m not the only one thinking about this type of thing, about what happens when you die.
“We even had a bit of a giggle about ideas for my funeral, and it helped me to broach the subject with my family too. I told them I’d like a horse and carriage, and speaking about it made it all feel less scary.”
Tracy, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012, was referred to the hospice’s Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team earlier this year by her Macmillan nurse, to help with medication and pain management.
“I didn’t realise the hospice is here for you every step of the way,” Tracy said. “I didn’t know they would come out to my house and see me face-to-face. The cancer had spread into my lungs, lymph nodes and bones and I was experiencing really sharp pains in my chest and struggling to breathe in bed. Chelle went through lots of different treatment and medication options with me and I now feel so much better both physically and mentally.
“She even offered to arrange getting me a blue badge for the car and a wheelchair if I felt I needed it; I hadn’t even thought about that kind of thing.”
Tracy, who worked as a supervisor at a hotel in Preston, added: “She also spent some time chatting with my daughter and helping her to feel more prepared for the future as well. They’re difficult conversations to have but they’re really important.”
St Catherine’s is launching a social media campaign as part of the national Dying Matters Awareness Week, encouraging people to think about what matters to them now and in the future, and to #tell3people2021.
The charity wants everyone in the community to start thinking about small details such as what music and food they like, what makes them feel relaxed and happy, and how these could contribute towards having a peaceful and comfortable end-of-life experience when the times comes. And the hospice is urging people to record these wishes by writing a will and thinking about funeral plans, organ donation, and digital legacies.
- Click here to access a range of advice and guides about opening up difficult conversations with loved ones, supporting people who are bereaved, and planning for the future; including details about the St Catherine’s Wills Service. And connect with us on social media for more support this Dying Matters Awareness Week.
Share with your friends!