Because of you...

Philomena's family had a last magical Christmas together

I must admit, when it was suggested that dad should go into the hospice, I felt sick. I had visions of it being an awful place, but I soon realised it’s not like that at all. He went in mid-December, so tired he was unable to walk, and I was dreading it. But there was a lovely Christmas tree up andhe was given a beautiful room overlooking the lovely gardens. After the wonderful staff arranged a specialist treatment to help manage his symptoms he was transformed, full of beans with colour in his cheeks at last.

There was the most beautiful atmosphere – I was overwhelmed. Carols were being sung down the corridor, the food there was absolutely amazing, just like a five-star hotel. Patients were even offered a glass of wine with their meals. That first night I stayed with him until midnight. It was so good and such a relief to see him joking with the nurses and getting on really well. It was fantastic that the staff allowed me to stay with dad every night. It was so precious and important to have that time with him.

But as Christmas approached, I was dreading not having dad at home for Christmas dinner. We’ve got an Irish background, and Christmas is a big family thing for us, but dad needed the expert support he was getting at the hospice. I told my family I couldn’t be with them this year, and asked the nurses if I could bring him and me in a meal to have together on Christmas Day. They did much, much better than that! They laid on a full Christmas dinner specially for our whole family in their dining area on Christmas Day – all the grandchildren were there, the chef came out with fantastic food and was so jolly. There was no hurry at all and because the hospice staff were on hand, they were able to help dad feel well enough to enjoy it with us. It meant the whole world.

Prospect Hospice isn’t just there for patients, it’s there for their families too. I’ve never seen people try so hard and have so much compassion and gentleness. It felt like being normal again. I had been petrified for dad to go in, but in fact it was all so peaceful and beautiful.

How they do it, I don’t quite know, but nothing is too much for them, and everything is given for free. Our family are so, so lucky that dad could spend that time at the hospice. The incredible team was able to stabilise dad’s symptoms enough that he could go home by February, and he had a few months at home, with the hospice’s ongoing invaluable support, before he died. But I’ll never forget that last magical Christmas together.


Because of you...

Because of you, we were there for Philomena and her family. Without you, we won’t be there for others like them. Find out more about how you can support the work of the hospice with a donation by clicking below.