“When my husband, David, went into Pendleside Hospice on December 21, 2020, he knew that because of the Covid situation it would be the last time he ever saw his grandchildren. That was extremely tough and harrowing, but it was 100 times better than him going into hospital where he wouldn’t have been able to have any visitors.
David was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in June 2019 and given a prognosis of 18 months to two years. He’d had throat cancer five years previously and recovered, but the two were unrelated.
It had been his dream to buy a motor home and travel around France, and that’s what we did during his final year. With advice from his doctors on worst case scenarios, we set off down to Devon and Cornwall first and, when that went well, we carried on to France, making our way down to the south and then meandering back up, with our children and grandchildren joining us at one stage. I’m so glad we did it. We made happy memories at the worst possible time and David actually said it was the best year of his life.
In autumn 2020, David went into hospital after contracting pneumonia, going to recover at Pendleside after he was discharged.
When he came home, the hospice’s home carers and Macmillan nurses came to visit every day, but he was admitted to hospital again after contracting pneumonia for a second time. As he was about to be discharged, I had Covid so Pendleside took him back again while I recovered.
When he went in for end-of-life care in the December, restrictions were still in place around visiting but everyone at the hospice made it as nice as possible for him. I was with him when he died on January 12, 2021.
After David’s death, I started having counselling offered by Pendleside, available whenever I needed it, which was amazing.
Because of our experience, our family and friends raised £3,000 for the hospice after David’s funeral, which included our son-in-law, Jason Fyles, asking for donations instead of birthday presents. We’re having a celebration of his life in January, because we couldn’t hold a wake, and I’m hoping that will raise as much money as possible.
Light up a Life will be emotional – it will be the first time I’ve been back to the hospice since David died. Although our hospice journey was different because of Covid, everyone was just wonderful with us – they really are angels in uniform – so I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the campaign and fundraising.”