Marie Curie Nurses helped us get a good night’s sleep

Don Hancock tells us how, with help from Marie Curie, his wife Brenda could celebrate a special last birthday and Christmas at home with her family. 

“My wife, Brenda, passed away after 49 years of marriage together – we married in our early 20s. Thanks to Marie Curie, she was at home with me for as long as she could be.

“Brenda was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in April 2011, and later with lung cancer and a brain tumour. She deteriorated rapidly and I was caring for her 24 hours a day. I have three wonderful daughters who helped out but they also had young families to look after.

“I’m in my 70s and I was absolutely drained, looking after my wife day and night. I would cat-nap in a recliner chair next to her, in between helping her to the commode through the night.

“Our district nurse suggested that I ask for help from Marie Curie at night. I'd never heard of the service before, but two days later a Marie Curie Nurse arrived and I could get a good night's sleep. I couldn't have kept going without them – they were like angels in disguise.

Everything was done with a smile

“The Marie Curie Nurses helped create such a lovely atmosphere at home. They took the time to get to know my wife. They were never in a rush, nothing was too much trouble and everything was done with a smile. We often talked and laughed together.

“Without Marie Curie we wouldn't have had such a special last birthday and Christmas with Brenda – we would have struggled and it would have been much more stressful. The support from Marie Curie meant I could get proper rest and could enjoy our time together. A good night’s sleep makes all the difference.

“When we could no longer control my wife's pain at home, she went into the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands. If she had to go anywhere this is where I would have picked. It's a beautiful place with big rooms and the nurses were always friendly, with smiles on their faces.

“Brenda passed away on 1 April 2014. Her illness was very unexpected for me. We had plans for concerts and holidays, and we just missed out on our 50th wedding anniversary, but we had lots of good memories. Brenda was a popular lady – we had a big funeral and raised money for Marie Curie.”

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