My strong, gifted, wonderful mum, Kathleen, died at Trinity Hospice in July 2015. I want to tell you why I’ll forever cherish the Memory Tree, where mum has a leaf in her honour.
The past few years have been extremely difficult. I gave up my career to look after my dad when he became ill, and although I’d heard of Trinity before, it was only then that they became such a vital part of our lives. We were assigned a Nurse Specialist who supported me and helped my dad manage. Sadly Dad passed away and five months later, I also lost my eldest brother. In the midst of this terrible time, my beloved mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Looking back now, I remember how scared I was. It all happened so quickly. Trinity was there, again, to provide us with a nurse to care for mum alongside me. Together, we managed her pain and helped her to stay at home, which was so important to her. But at the same time, I hadn’t had time to properly grieve for my dad and brother.
I started to go to the Linden Centre, Trinity’s specialist counselling service. It was only an hour each week, but it was vital time for me to talk and to get guidance on what was to come with mum.
It seemed sudden when mum became quite poorly. Just as they had been there every step of the way, Trinity had a room for her. I spent that last day by her side, knowing that the nurses would make her comfortable. I honestly don’t know what would have happened without them.
The first time I saw the Memory Tree, I thought, ‘Mum’s going to have a leaf’. The leaves remind me of the sign of Spring – mum loved Spring. For me, the leaf grows and it keeps mum alive. I like to visit Trinity and see her name, put my hand on the leaf and remember her.
I know how special the Memory Tree has been for me. I want to encourage you to dedicate a leaf, even if you’ve never visited Trinity. It’s phenomenal that each dedication helps more families like mine, and I’m so pleased that mum’s leaf will be there for many years to come.