Julie’s Story

“I told him how he’d been a wonderful Dad to me for 27 years”

“Roger was my Step-Dad but I always looked at him as my Dad

He was the kindest, most gentle man I’ve ever known. He was always so positive and patient. He would help anybody out and I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He never argued or raised his voice, he just wasn’t like that.

He and Mum were married for 25 years and he made my Mum so happy. They liked to visit National Trust places, would go on fishing holidays to Norfolk and they travelled to Spain and Greece. Mum and Roger were the perfect match.

Roger was also very clever, and he always had a story about every topic. He was a Scientific Civil Servant for 40 years and lived a very full life. Even when he was unwell, he and Mum spent time in a caravan at Pevensey Bay.

Mum and I didn’t know Roger was ill that long

He’d been diagnosed with cancer before and we thought his treatment had worked but then his cancer spread. We think he kept things to himself for a little bit as he didn’t want to worry us. That was typical of him but it’s likely he was in probably in more pain than he was letting on. He started to lose weight but he still didn’t say anything.

He didn’t want to put his worries onto anyone else and he wanted to look after us, he never wanted to be a burden

As Roger became less well he told Mum he wanted to go to the hospice

He wasn’t getting out of bed at home and one day he told Mum “I want to go to the hospice now.” He spent 9 days there in early November 2019.

Roger’s illness progressed quite quickly but he wouldn’t talk about it – that was hard and it worried my Mum.

I didn’t know a lot about the hospice before Roger was there but I spent almost every day there with him and my Mum as I wanted to be there for her as well. Mum even stayed at the hospice overnight

Roger wasn’t really with it during his time at the hospice but it was a really nice place

I didn’t know what to expect but it felt like an informal hospital. It was quiet and I was always asked if I needed anything.

I’d feed Roger jelly for lunch, there was a lovely garden I had a look around and one day when Mum went out I had chance to have a proper chat with Roger. I told him how he’d been a wonderful Dad to me for 27 years. I think it upset him a bit but it was so nice to have that precious chance to tell him how much he meant to me and to say the things I needed to say

When Roger went into the hospice Mum could go back to being his wife again rather than his carer. She could just be with him and hold his hand.

Angels work at the hospice

Everyone was so nice and nothing was ever too much trouble. The hospice was relaxed, it didn’t feel clinical and we enjoyed the drinks trolley coming round – Roger often had something from that!

If anyone else reading this is starting to go through the same thing we did with Roger you don’t need to be worried. Everyone in the hospice is looked after so well, everyone is so caring, and everything is done for you

I’ve been fundraising for St Catherine’s

I’d done the Santa Run for St Catherine’s before, and during the 2020 lockdown I saw a video of someone making handmade bars of soap. I started making my own soaps and wax melts and I really enjoyed it. Originally I made them for family and friends but they started saying I should sell them so I started my own business ‘Suds and Stuff’. It’s built up from something small and now I sell soaps, candles, wax melts and cotton tote bags.

I’ve got ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) so I can’t do fun runs to support the hospice anymore but I recently donated some of my wax melts to the St Catherine’s Reigate shop to sell. It’s something that’s easier for me to do and it’s nice to give something back to the hospice

Last week as I walked into Aldi in East Grinstead a man representing St Catherine’s lottery was there as well, and I got talking to him. He was called Roger by coincidence. I spent about 15 minutes telling him all about my Roger, and I’ve signed up for the lottery to support the hospice now.

The care from St Catherine’s was amazing – it’s the positive side of end of life

Thank goodness there are places like hospices where people can go to be looked after – we don’t ever want to lose that.”

Our Stories

Hear from our patients, their relatives, our staff and volunteers about the care of St Catherine’s Hospice.

Or for even more stories, updates and news from St Catherine’s Hospice, why not have a read of our biannual Matters magazine?

To read the latest edition of Matters, click here.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media for our latest stories

You can find us here:

Facebook: St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley and St Catherine’s Hospice Fundraisers
Twitter: @StCHospice
Instagram: @stcatherinescrawley
LinkedIn:  St Catherine’s Hospice, Crawley