When Carol Edward felt a swelling in her neck, a scan revealed that she was living with breast cancer. Carol, 78, was given just months to live.
‘She broke down and was inconsolable at first,’ recalled Carol’s son, Stephen. ‘Yet Mum was a very practical woman,’ he fondly remembered. ‘She handed me a thick folder containing all her dying wishes.’
‘There you go, Steve. It’s all in there,’ Carol said to him.
Among Carol’s wishes was that Saint Francis Hospice would care for her in the comfort of her home, without chemo or radiotherapy. Stephen had managed to reach the age of 50 without witnessing the end of life care for a life-limiting illness firsthand. He admitted that the information he had to process became overwhelming for both himself and his mum.
‘The Hospice at Home team organised everything, which is what we desperately needed,’ Stephen remembered. ‘The nurses took control without being intrusive. They explained everything that was happening to Mum in simple terms while maintaining exceptional compassion.
‘I had no idea if mum had days, weeks or months left, yet the nurses managed my expectations brilliantly. When the inevitability of mum passing approached, they told me exactly what to expect and when.’
Carol passed away peacefully at her home, surrounded by the Hospice’s nurses and her loved ones. She was 79.
‘Mum’s illness opened my eyes to the incredible care the Hospice provides,’ Stephen said. ‘The care isn’t only for the person who is ill; it extends to everyone around them.’
Also In Carol’s folder for Stephen were her funeral wishes, including her eulogy, which she had written herself. Instead of flowers, Carol asked for donations to Saint Francis Hospice. Her funeral raised £1,000 for the Hospice’s patients and their families.
When Stephen met with the church minister to arrange his mum’s funeral, he joked that he didn’t have much to do.
‘There you go; it’s all there,’ he said as he passed over the folder.
You can help Saint Francis Hospice’s patients’ final wishes come true by supporting the Charity’s Urgent Appeal, for as little as £3 a month. You can find out more about how you can make a difference here.