The hospice was so beautiful. We met all the nurses who were looking after Mum and we helped ourselves to tea, coffee and biscuits – which mum could never have enough of. It was one of the foods she could easily stomach and plenty of cups of tea kept her body warm which she had now become very sensitive to the cold. She had a bed specially adapted to make herself comfortable (Max and I experimented with the bed and took turns which was so much fun). Nurses regularly kept up with the medication and if ever she needed some pain relief, a nurse would always be near a doorway and come straight away.
The three of us would sit outside on the benches looking at the beautiful garden. It had some pretty vines growing around the fences, shrubbery full of pinks, purples and pastel shades with bumble bees and Red Admiral butterflies hovering around them. But the one thing that caught our eyes was a big tree at the end of the garden that had all lights around it. ‘What’s that, Mum?’ I asked. ‘I was told by the nurses that once a year, everyone gathers around the tree and let off tea lights into the sky to remember their loved ones’, she replied.
‘Wow!’ Max and I both said in unison. ‘It’s in December. So we’ll light one, if I’m still here, Haha!’ she joked. I was looking at the butterflies that in Britain are becoming very rare to find. ‘They’re such pretty butterflies, aren’t they Mum?’ I said with a warm smile. ‘I’ve never seen this this many all fluttering around’. ‘Yes…very peaceful things’, she replied quietly and gazed at them with awe. We popped back inside her room a little while later and the nurses came in with dinner that looked absolutely delicious and it was all cooked fresh by the students in the kitchen. It was a beef stew with new potatoes and mum started to take small mouthfuls. She was getting a little full but she decided to push herself a bit more to see if can just about manage to eat all of one meal. She did really well and left a tiny bit at the end. ‘Well done, Mum!’ I gasped with delight and hugged her tightly . I was so proud of her. This would help her get her strength up in case the doctors recommended her to go in for chemotherapy. It was very daunting of her to hear as she heard of the dreadful experiences and after – effects that people have had from it. But if this was going to extend and improve her quality of life, then by all means she should go for it.
The family would pop over to see her in turns and in the evenings and James would see her by himself. We still had some issues and there were some things we weren’t happy about with him which was putting a strain on our relationship. The family had their views and it caused awkward tension between them. But mum wasn’t gonna let it get her down and just maintained civil conversations with him. Whenever Max and I we were back at home, James would text us to let us know how she was. Texts were very abrupt and one worded but at least we knew how she was feeling throughout the day.
It really was a wonderful place to be. For anyone who is terminally ill are looked after by the most incredible people. I can tell you that she was in the best place. Away from the stress and the misery from the hospital. She had her own privacy and somewhere she could call home – not necessarily a real home but it was home.
It was indeed the best decision she ever made..