A moment of unforgettable Christmas care

Every family is special, but for Marie Curie Nurses like Paula Grufferty, some are impossible to forget.

They were quite a young family

It was last Christmas, and the weather was really bad outside. The other nurse and I arrived at the farm that the family ran.

We drove up past the cows sheltering in the yard, pulling up outside this lovely house.

Upstairs, there was a man being looked after by his wife. He was very poorly and the family needed our help.

What are you making?

We were welcomed inside and I was introduced to the couple's teenage daughter, who was baking cakes, and their 10-year-old son who was sat making Christmas cards.

My colleague went upstairs to sort out the father's medication, and I went to speak to the little boy making cards.

He seemed a bit sad, but I asked him what he was making and we got chatting. He told me about his family's farm and the names of his animals, listing off the calves he’d helped to raise.

I had such a lovely time talking with him.

Even a small connection makes such a big difference

I'm part of a Marie Curie service operating across County Durham. We’re on call to visit patients' homes 24 hours a day.

Whether people need emotional support, symptom or pain control, or support because a patient has passed away at home, we can help.

This family had needed urgent assistance with the father's medication, which was why we were there that evening.

After I'd finished chatting to the little boy, I went upstairs to check on the couple.

The wife was there lying beside her husband. She’d been off getting the Christmas shop, alongside looking after the kids and caring for her husband; she was exhausted.

The medication my colleague had administered had helped the husband feel more comfortable. He and his wife would be able to have some precious time together as a couple, undisturbed by pain.

An unforgettable feeling

On my way out, the daughter stopped me at the door.

She told me that I was the first nurse that the little boy had spoken to – and all it took was chatting about cards and calves! We weren’t talking about poorly Dad, we were talking about his own things that he was interested in.

It was unforgettable, the feeling it gave me to hear that. Even a small connection makes such a big difference.

It has to be just right

Many people haven’t experienced a loved one dying at home. They need help, and they want everything to be just right for that person.

The service we provide is about support for the family too, whether it's Christmas or any other day of the year.

It’s an amazing thing to be able to do for a family, and I absolutely love it.

Help support the work of Marie Curie Nurses like Paula this Christmas. Donate so we can help more families when they need it most.