Our Spring Appeal – Grace’s Story
Our Spring Fundraising Appeal has just landed, telling Grace’s story about how St Catherine’s cared for her mum, Tracey, at the end of her life.
You can read Grace’s powerful story below, and if you would like to make a donation just click the links below.
My name is Grace and I wanted to share my story of my amazing mum and the incredible support we received from St Catherine’s Hospice before she died.
My perfect-in-every-way Mum, Tracey, was mad as a box of frogs. She was the life and soul wherever she went, and if you’d met her, you’d have loved her too. She was my best friend and now she’s my guardian angel.
She wanted to help everyone – she was a policewoman and then a teacher – and she always put everyone before herself. She was the most inspirational, brave, funny, determined and ridiculously talented woman in the world.
Mum was diagnosed with cancer at the too young age of 52 and, after receiving treatment for a couple of years, was referred to St Catherine’s Hospice. After visiting the hospice as a day patient for a year, the decision was made to transfer mum to the hospice for end of life care.
Despite the awful situation, Mum’s final weeks were so full of love and laughter. The staff were beyond amazing and took the very best care of mum. They took the scariness away and helped us make so many memories before she died.
Nothing was ever an issue, and no request was ever too much. I remember one night it was 3am and after lacking any appetite, mum suddenly felt hungry. Even though it was the middle of the night, the incredible kitchen prepared some scrambled eggs. According to mum they were the best, creamiest eggs she had ever eaten. Mum did not stop talking about those eggs!
It meant so much to her that someone was willing to do that for her in the middle of the night. You have no idea how wonderful it was to see her eat to help boost her energy in those final few weeks. I will always remember it.
St Catherine’s enabled mum to still be mum – right to the end of her life. At home, she was always hosting friends and the hospice was no different. Her room at St Catherine’s became her home, where she could still host endless visits from friends and family. You could always hear chat and the laughter coming from her room – the nurses called it the party room!
The medical care was exceptional too. Mum’s medicines were always carefully prepared in her syringe pump so that she wasn’t in any pain. The hospice thought of everything – when I wanted to help with mum’s care, the nurses showed me how to do it – nothing was ever too much trouble.
I want you to know that St Catherine’s didn’t just look after mum. They were incredible at looking after me too and could tell when things became too much. During the day they would take me for a walk around the beautiful gardens and ask how I was doing. The gardens became so important to me that I even have a tattoo of flowers from the garden. I showed it to mum before she died and she loved it.
I slept on a recliner chair next to mum’s bed nearly every night mum was in the hospice. I was made so comfortable. I was given soft pillows and warm blankets to help me feel as rested as possible. I wouldn’t have wanted to sleep anywhere else.
When you are living in that situation making memories is absolutely everything. St Catherine’s helped us to do just this. Please give what you can today so that other families can make memories to cherish.
After a three-and-a-half-year battle mum died aged just 56 at St Catherine’s Hospice. She described the hospice as “heaven on earth” and said that the staff were “angels without wings” and I couldn’t agree more.
When mum only had a short time left, she wanted to go home one last time. The hospice made it happen. They organised a wheelchair and showed me how to get mum in and out of the car safely. Mum had her last day at home surrounded by our family and even my cat, who mum adored, joined in the party and sat on her lap for one final goodbye.
Mum and I also wrote a song together before she died. Mum wrote down lots of happy memories she had of me and called us ‘best friends forever.’ Then a volunteer music therapist at the hospice turned her words into an incredible song. Mum called it 24 Years of Grace, because that’s how many wonderful years we had together. It’s the most precious memory I have of mum, and the love that we had for one another. I now have that song to treasure forever.
I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if we didn’t have St Catherine’s. I don’t know what I would have done. I can honestly say I would not have coped without them and I will be forever grateful for, and in awe of, the kindness they showed me and my beautiful mum.
Please can you help today by donating to St Catherine’s hospice? Your donation will help other families, like mine, to receive incredible care for their loved ones and make more memories until the very end.
Thank you so much.
Ps The hospice relies on you and other generous donors to make this ‘heaven on earth’ a reality. I know times are tough right now so whatever amount you are able to donate really will mean a lot.
If you would like to make a donation to our Spring Appeal please click here.