Hospice wedding for Janet's last wish
When Janet was being cared for at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands, her final request was to get married. Her partner Keith leapt into action with the help of Marie Curie staff to fulfill her wish.
"Janet was at the hospice for two weeks initially to help manage the symptoms caused by her cancer. When it became clear that she was deteriorating very, very quickly, I asked her if there was anything she wanted.
"Janet told me that she would like to get married, so I reassured her that I would sort it out. It took us 10 days to arrange the wedding and everyone helped.
"To help us get everything sorted in time, a friend of ours set up a profile with a charity that helps people with a terminal illness organise their weddings through donations from the public.
"An offer came through to help with the rings from a couple who wanted to remain anonymous. They came to the hospice and took our ring measurements and then a few days later they presented us with a pair of beautiful silver wedding rings.
"We had lots of offers for a wedding cake, and we had two cakes donated. Janet told them I didn’t like raisins so they made sponge cake. She wanted to make sure it was perfect. Another person donated a tiara for Janet to wear on the day, and all they wanted in return was some photos of the wedding. We did have to be careful about what we could accept; we had an offer of a holiday, but unfortunately we couldn’t go – Janet was just too weak.
"Marie Curie Nurses from the hospice took Janet out to Solihull to get her outfit for the wedding. I went to the hospice to visit her as usual, and when she wasn’t in her room the other nurses told me they’d gone shopping! The staff even bought the clothes for her after they’d done a little collection.
Right by her side
"The service was held at the hospice; the registrar came, and there was also a blessing. We had a bit of a party and everyone was having a good time. Janet was smiling; you couldn’t have taken the smile off her face. She told me: ‘As long as I’m happy, the pain isn’t going to get the better of me.’
"After the wedding, I asked Janet what she wanted to do now and she told me she wanted to be at home. Marie Curie liaised with the district nurses who cared for Janet at home after that.
"The day Janet died I was in a state. When the time came, I asked our other family members who were there to leave us alone together. Janet’s beloved dog Cindy stayed with her as well. I was right there by her bedside when the last breath came."