Hannah’s story

September 2021

Care, Fundraising

I will be taking part in this year’s Light up a Life service to remember my precious mum, Fiona Soden (pictured above centre), who was, and will always be, the light in my family’s life.

My mum may be known to some of you, as she worked as a nurse at Prospect Hospice for over ten years, both on the inpatient unit and then as a clinical nurse specialist, caring for patients in their own homes – a job she absolutely loved! Mum was born to do two things – be a mum to me and my brother, Joe, and be a nurse.

Mum had a passion for palliative care, helping people who were terminally ill to make the best of their time left. People were drawn to her as she had ‘something’ about her. She was a friend to everyone she met and a comfort to all her patients, always making the time to sit and listen to them and provide some peace and happiness in their time of need. It brought her a sense of fulfilment.

Our world was turned upside down in March 2019 when mum was diagnosed with cancer and she had to stop caring for others and allow people to care for her.

The hospice asks patients ‘what matters to you?’ and provides care that is personalised to them. For mum, what mattered to her during her final days was staying in her own home, in Royal Wootton Bassett. It just didn’t feel right for her to say goodbye to her house and her dog, Pepsi.

She was cared for by Joe, and I, and supported by the fantastic team at the hospice, some of whom were her colleagues and friends. Being cared for by those she had worked with brought her comfort in the time she had left. As she had helped patients in the same situation and, because of that, she knew she was receiving the best care possible.

My brother lived with and cared for mum full-time. Mum was fitted with a syringe driver to help with her symptoms and the hospice nurses taught Joe how to administer pain medication. This meant Joe was able to respond immediately when mum needed help managing her pain and was able to make her more comfortable. And, if we needed them, the hospice team was available for us to call day or night. They were a constant support to both mum and us.

Sadly, mum lost her battle with cancer in January 2021, aged just 55.

To be able to spend her final days with Joe and I and her two grandchildren (my children) at home meant a great deal to her, especially during the pandemic. We spent our time talking and looking through family photos and videos of when my brother and I were little. We also had a photoshoot done at a local studio of the three of us and my children (below). Photos that we will always cherish.

My brother and I are forever grateful to the hospice for giving us the tools to keep mum at home where she wanted to be and we promised to do everything we can to support them.

With mum being a nurse at Prospect Hospice we knew what a special place it was, but to be on the receiving end of their care for mum and the support they gave us as a family brought it home to us. It made us even more proud of mum, knowing the difference she had helped make to all those families she had cared for over the years.

Hannah has shared her story as part of our Light up a Life event where we come together as a community to remember loved ones at the end of the year. To find out more about this event and how you can join in, click here.

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