My mum's hospice care has inspired me to become a nurse

Megan was just 15 when her mum Shirley was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She tells us about her experience and how the care her mum received in a Marie Curie hospice is inspiring her to become a nurse…

Megan with her mum, Shirley
Megan with her mum, Shirley

“My mum was diagnosed with cancer in her head and neck in 2012. It’s a really rare form, but the doctors told us there were options. She had surgery and for a while we thought it was gone. But it came back and there wasn’t anything they could do.

She’d always cheer you up, my mum. We got on like sisters. She was a chef and worked in a couple of cafes which she really enjoyed. She couldn’t really eat after her operation, but still loved watching her cookery programmes. We’d sit and watch them together.

Looking back with a smile

We decided a bed in a Marie Curie Hospice was what we needed. I was reluctant at first but it was the best decision we ever made. The nurses, doctors and staff were all so lovely and helpful. They became like family to us. They were there to give us a hug, make us laugh, and joke with Mum. They attended to her needs so she was as comfortable as possible.

The night that Mum passed away, my sister and I were there to hold her hand. The two nurses were there to hold ours. I always look back with a smile knowing that my mum was in the best place possible for her end-of-life experience.

Facing milestones without Mum

Last year, my sister and I met up to mark the first anniversary. The hospice holds a memorial day every year and we went to that. It helped. It was good to see the doctors and nurses: they remembered us, which was really comforting.  

This year? Well, my sister and I are in different places so we won’t get the chance to meet up. On the anniversary of the death I will be with my friends.

I haven’t really thought about important dates, like Mother’s Day yet. It’s hard because no one really understands what it’s like if they haven’t lost a parent. I don’t expect them to, but it’s hard when all your friends talk about their parents. You really take it for granted.

I’m now in Edinburgh studying nursing. Initially I wanted to be a midwife but I did a lot of caring for my mum. The district nurses and the Marie Curie Nurses were just so amazing.”

If you or a member of your family has been affected by terminal illness, the Marie Curie Support Line can offer help every step of the way. Call free on 0800 090 2309*

*Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Your call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.