We were so very fortunate that Alan’s last few months were spent at St Gemma’s. There are no words adequate enough to pay tribute to the staff at this outstanding Hospice. Without them, we would have crumbled – their dedication, empathy, compassion & unbelievable patience is a true testimony to their profession. Such qualities ensured that Alan’s last hours passed with dignity & respect in the most calm & peaceful manner we could have wished for in the sad circumstances. Thank you, each & every one of you, for consistently being so understanding, kind & tender, especially when one of us was falling apart. For three & a half months, St Gemma’s became our home & family & we constantly felt safe & protected, knowing that Alan was in the very place we always hoped he would be at the end of his life. He was delighted with his room as he loved his garden at home & this gave us all so much pleasure in his last few months. We likened this period as similar to living in a bubble but one day….. we knew that bubble must burst.
We will always recall his time in St Gemma’s with a mixture of both sadness & laughter. Who can forget, despite his limited mobility, his sneaky trips to his chocolate stash, in one instance, causing the bedside cabinet to overturn…. or when he tried to pour himself a glass of wine! In the early days, he couldn’t resist a bit of humour & banter, often teasing the nurses & giving them the full benefit of his charm.
When I felt the time was right, I desperately felt that I needed to give back somehow….so I now volunteer on Reception. I know what it’s like to walk through those doors for the first time. If I can just offer the same love & compassion to others that I received, then, hopefully, their time at St Gemma’s will be a little more bearable. God Bless.