Kay’s best friend Kate was cared for on the St Gemma’s In-Patient Unit in July 2016. Kay tells her story:
“23rd of July 2016 was the day I lost my beautiful best friend Kate.
It was only a year before that I went along with Kate to an open day. We had a look around and met a few of the staff. On the way out Kate hooked her arm into mine and said “I want to come here when it’s time you know.”
I thought we had so much more time. Even though deep down I knew we were on borrowed time .
That day came. Kate was struggling so went into St Gemma’s so they could help her to get her pain under control.
We had two weeks together in there. In those weeks we talked, we laughed and we cried.
Even though it was such a heartbreaking two weeks, seeing Kate get weaker each day it was also such a special time too.
One gorgeous sunny afternoon I took Kate into the beautiful gardens to see all the flowers. We sat for a while it was such a peaceful and pretty garden and it felt so tranquil and just away from everything.
We had such funny moments too in those weeks, like the time I hit the side of the pond with her wheelchair nearly tipping her in. I will never forget that laughter…laughing to the point we could hardly breathe.
We had afternoon tea with two of Kate’s other friends… one who had travelled all the way up from London. We ate sandwiches and cake and drank champagne. All Kate’s favorite things to do 🙂
The staff did everything they could to make it special for us. We will all cherish that memory forever.
I remember sitting with Kate later that night holding her hand, she was drifting off to sleep but then her eyes opened, she smiled and said “I’ve had such a lovely day today” then drifted off to sleep with that smile still on her face.
The staff were always there to bring in that much needed cup of tea or give you a hug when you were leaving after visiting.
I had so many things I wanted to say to Kate before she died but finding the right time was so difficult as it never felt right … as that meant it was real … that day was getting nearer.
I will be forever grateful to the nurse who encouraged me and supported me to find that time no matter how difficult it would be.
I spent time alone with Kate … just the two of us … taking about our friendship … saying the words we needed to .
We said our goodbyes. When I left that room I knew it would be the last time I would talk to my lovely best friend. I walked out of her room heartbroken. But into the arms of the nurse who was there ready and waiting.
You never forget things like that, care like that, compassion, empathy. It stays with you. It’s there in the difficult days, weeks and months after. It’s a comfort.
Kate died peacefully the following day.
St Gemmas truly is a special place.
I will always be grateful for the care and support that was given to Kate in her final weeks but also to myself. I was able to just have time with Kate and be her best friend in those weeks. Share such precious time. Knowing that they were keeping her as comfortable as possible and cared for with such love from each and every single member of staff.
It’s five years this week since we lost Kate. I will never forget her. I smile when I think of her and feel so very very lucky to have had in in my life for the years I did and call her my bestie.”