"Nan's hospice care at Christmas was amazing"
“I used to call her Nanny Frances. We were all very close; she was the centre of the family and was just the best person ever. Nan had four children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild – my little boy. When I was 14, I practically lived with her and would stay at her house for weeks at a time. She was also my chaperone when I acted in a children’s TV programme as a kid, The Worst Witch.
“She was diagnosed with lung cancer about a year before she died in January 2014, when she was 71. She had been going to the doctors for years with a bad cough, but she was told it was a chest infection. In the end, I took her to the hospital and they did an X-ray and found the shadows on her lung, but surgery was no longer an option as it was passed that stage.
Meeting our family's needs
“Eventually Nan needed to be cared for in at the Marie Cure Hospice. She was so happy there and she was able to really rest. The staff were amazing. We’re a big family, and when Nan got really bad, she was in her own room and sometimes there would be ten of us all in there with her, but the staff were fine with that. I could sometimes be there until 3am and it was really important that was possible.
“There was also a prayer room which was really important to our family. We’re a mixed family; half of us are Christian while the other half are Muslim. Nan married a Sudanese Muslim, my granddad, but he died when my mum was only two, and Nan’s faith was really important to her. That was her last Christmas and it was a really big thing that she was there for it. That was the crazy thing about our family, we celebrated Ramadan and then also Christmas.
"The last time I saw her, I said ‘I love you, Nan’ and she said ‘I love you’, and then when I said ‘See you tomorrow’ her reply was ‘Inshallah’ which means ‘God willing’. After she died, I went back to the hospice a week later and the hospice staff let me walk around and told me to take my time; they are genuinely such nice people.”
This Christmas, our hospice staff will be working around the clock to provide care and support for people like Frances, Paislie and their family. Please consider giving the gift of hospice day care services this Christmas and help us continue this vital work.