Angie and Malcom’s story – The Garrett Family Christmas

November 2020


Christmas is an incredibly special time for me and my family.

Like many others, it was always difficult to get our blended family together and as the children grew up and had children of their own there were other parents and grandparents to consider at this special time of year.

My dear wife Angie came up with a great idea years ago to host ‘The Garrett Family Christmas’ – an event that took place at our house a few weeks before the big day and meant the whole family could be together. At the last count, we had 19 people round the table!

We both loved this day very much. We called it our pre-Christmas Christmas. Angie would cook a delicious meal and buy thoughtful gifts for everyone and we both loved to sit back and watch as everyone caught up about the previous year and shared their hopes for the next.

When Angie was diagnosed with cancer early last year she fought really hard to keep the tradition going but it just became too much for her and last Christmas we knew we wouldn’t be able to host the way we had in previous years. We certainly weren’t going to stop though so Angie found a lovely local hotel where we could all gather and we went there instead to enjoy our time together.

It was wonderful and we didn’t miss a thing. Despite not being able to go out, Angie had still bought everyone a small gift online and had them delivered to the house to wrap and give out. Nothing big, just a small token gift, but everyone had something to open. This time was about being together, not about presents.

When our time together that day was drawing to an end and we were preparing to go home she turned to me and said: “That went well. Let’s do it again next year.” I knew she wouldn’t be there and I think she knew it too.

Not long after, Angie’s condition deteriorated and she spent her final days at Prospect Hospice’s inpatient unit. We already knew the team there. They’d been to see her at the house and made sure she had everything she needed, even fitting rails in the shower so she could still maintain some independence. They came to see her in the hospital too and helped us there. That’s where they told me Angie was dying and helped to explain what that meant and what would happen next.

The care we received from Prospect Hospice was remarkable and from day one we felt supported by everyone that came to see us. They spoke to Angie about what she wanted and did everything they could to make her as comfortable as possible, physically and emotionally too. For that, I’ll always be grateful.

Her visit to the hospice would be her final journey. She died on 3 February. Aged just 59.

Prospect Hospice was there for her when she really needed them and they continue to support me now as I learn to live without her, supporting me during lockdown at a time when I felt incredibly lonely – when you’ve been around someone for 40 years, I can tell you, it’s almost impossible to work out how to do things without them by your side, but I’m learning.

Who knows what Christmas will be like this year but, what I do know, is that Prospect Hospice will continue to be there for people like me and Angie over the festive period and for a long time after that.

Malcolm has kindly shared his story as part of our Christmas appeal. To read more about this and support Prospect Hospice at this time, click here.

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