"A night of care I’ll never forget"
Marie Curie Nurses like Annie support for people living with a terminal illness, caring for them through the night in their own homes. Every night of care is different, but as Annie explains - some families stay with you.
“It was a Saturday night – I’ll never forget it – and I was caring for an elderly gentleman with his family all sat with us in his bedroom. I can see it very vividly even now – he was lying in bed, they were all sat on the sofa and I was sitting in the chair nearby. We were all wrapping birthday presents for the gentleman’s granddaughter, whose birthday was the next day.
“I made sure the gentleman remained comfortable and helped him when he needed a drink through the night, and we spoke about his time working in London. I was also talking with the gentleman’s daughter and she was really upbeat, even though her dad was very poorly that night. We stayed up until late chatting about her dad. His wife was obviously devastated, but she was so lovely.
"Being with the families still affects you"
“I was alright until they brought the baby granddaughter in. They asked if I wanted to hold her, and I said I couldn’t because I just knew I was going to cry if I held the baby! I’ve been a Marie Curie Nurse for over four years, but being with families like that still affects you.
“The next day was the little girl’s birthday, and at half past seven the family reminded me that it was the end of my shift. I told them there was no rush and that I didn’t need to leave right then, and straight away they said ‘Let us cook you breakfast!’
“They invited me to share a meal with them, and the gentleman’s wife had been out to buy fresh bread and a cake. They put the bread out with peanut butter and told me to help myself, and we all ate together.
"The moment I got in my car, I just burst into tears"
“They were such a lovely family, but I think that can make it more upsetting sometimes. I found it really hard, honestly. You try to hold it together, but I remember when I left them that morning and got in my car, I just burst into tears. I kept ringing and stayed in touch after that night; the gentleman died the following Friday.
“Before I worked for Marie Curie, I was a nurse who cared for someone over four and a half years, and when she passed away it really upset me. After that I wanted to care for many different people so I became a Marie Curie Nurse, but it still affects you when you make a connection with a patient, even if it’s over a single night. I think that’s important though – that level of care is what makes Marie Curie Nurses truly special.”
If you'd like to help our nurses continue caring for people living with terminal illness, please consider supporting our nurses with a donation. Just £20 pays for an hour of nursing care, helping people and families make the most of the time they have left.