Jenny's story

My husband was amazing. I know that most people say that about their husbands, but mine really was and I found out just how amazing he was when he became ill.

Around eight years ago, Richard was diagnosed with skin cancer. That was treated, but the following year he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The trend continued and my daughter Codie used to say that something always hit us in the school summer holidays. When the kidney cancer was treated, the following summer he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. You just couldn’t make it up.

Throughout all these devastating diagnoses, one thing shone and that was Richard’s optimism. He always used to say that as long as something was being done, such as an appointment was booked or a scan was scheduled, then things were moving in the right direction. Throughout all this, not once did he ever complain. Instead of thinking about himself, he was always thinking of me and our daughter. He felt guilty that we had to watch him go through everything. That’s how big his heart was.

We only ever needed each other but, when Richard became ill, it was hard to give him everything he needed. His pain was just too great and we couldn’t get it under control. That’s when Prospect Hospice got involved and started to look after us all.

Almost immediately a lovely nurse, Tina, came out to see us to see what she could do to help. She went above and beyond for us. She’d call us at a time when I knew she couldn’t be at work, just to make sure things had been sorted and that we were OK. Richard was in and out of hospital and she’d call just to check up on me. She was such a rock.

Tina arranged for Richard to be admitted to the hospice for a short while to try to stabilise his pain. It was at the hospice, in the summer, sitting in the serene gardens, that he and Codie looked at universities. She was about to get her results and needed to choose where she wanted to go. I remember us all, sitting in the sunshine, sifting through prospectus after prospectus. The two of them would weigh up the pros and cons of courses and locations and eventually decided on a winner. I’m pleased to say, she’s there now, embarking on her new adventure knowing her dad was a big part of that decision.

There were strict Covid-19 measures in place at the time but the team at the hospice did everything they could to make sure we could be together. I know everyone has had it tough and I just feel so lucky to have been able to spend this time with him. I know if he’d have been in hospital, only one of us would have been able to go up for just one hour a day. The wonderful team at Prospect Hospice made it possible for us both to be with him as long as we needed. It’s just such a beautiful place where they took control of everything and we could be a family.

It was doctor Simon at the hospice who picked up that the cancer had spread to Richard’s bones and, while he did everything he could, it soon took over.

The hospice spent time with us to talk us through all the options and it was then that we decided that we all wanted Richard to be at home when he died. They were really supportive of our decision and did everything they could to make this transition easy for us and sorted everything so we could get him home. Simon was amazing. Just like Tina did, he came out to the house and really pushed to get things done for Richard. It wasn’t an easy time and whenever I felt anxious, both Tina and Simon would answer any questions I had.

I had my husband at home with me and he was surrounded by those that loved him. He was sleeping most of the time and we sang lullabies to him but it felt like he wasn’t letting go. A friend held my hand and said that he needed my permission. I held him and said to him: “I love you with all my heart and always will. You need to be at peace. It’s alright to go now. We’ll be OK.” He opened his eyes, smiled at me and went. He really did just need my permission to go.

He was home for two weeks before he died on 19 December, aged just 52. He didn’t make it to Christmas Day like we’d hoped but the hospice allowed us to have that time together.

I really can’t say enough about the care the hospice gave us and, it’s because of you and your generous donations, that we were supported at such a difficult time in our lives. Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to support Richard as much as I was able to. Without you, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to say goodbye to my soulmate in the way we wanted to. Without you, we wouldn’t have been in control or been able to be together right to the very end. You and the hospice did that for us and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

If you are able to, I know the hospice would really appreciate you purchasing a few raffle tickets. There are 25 in with this letter and by purchasing the book, you’ll pay for an hour of care just like the care Richard and I received from Tina. If you can’t buy the book, really, anything you can give will go towards helping families like ours.

Thank you for all your support of the hospice.

Best wishes,