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18 Jun 2020 Care

Father’s Day - Joanna’s story

This Father’s Day, we are celebrating all the wonderful fathers and father figures who have touched our lives by paying tribute to them on our special dedication page. Today’s story features Joanna, who joined Kirkwood soon after her dad died at the Hospice. Joanna shares her experience...

“Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2018. My parents were in Spain at the time and had to be rushed back to the UK. We learnt that Dad’s cancer was very aggressive and the prognosis was bleak.

"He spent 8 weeks in hospital, who then put us in touch with Kirkwood. At first, Dad was very resistant to the idea of Kirkwood becoming involved in his care. The word ‘Hospice’ frightened him as he felt it was a place where people went to die.

"Initially, the Hospice supported my family through a Kirkwood Community Nurse who would visit us at home. It was so reassuring to have this support. The Nurse took all the pressure off me as Dad’s main carer; she would organise pain relief for him and arrange home GP visits when required. She also made sure I was okay and looking after myself.

"My husband, Sean, and I were Dad’s only carers and it was a huge relief to have someone who we could trust and rely on. It was a real safety net. As he approached the end of his life, Dad increasingly spent more time in hospital. His pain was starting to become uncontrollable. He was in a really bad way; it was heart breaking.

Joanna's Mum and Dad

 

"It got to the stage where I knew only Kirkwood could help Dad. I spoke to our nurse who quickly organised a bed. The sense of relief is something I cannot put into words. Dad immediately perked up and we were able to have two beautiful weeks with him making memories. One particular memory sticks in my mind…

"My son, Tom, celebrated his birthday whilst Dad was in the Hospice. Tom plays tennis so Dad asked me to buy him a racquet on his behalf as a final birthday present. Tom visited his Grandad on his birthday to unwrap his present. Dad was so happy to see Tom with his new racquet. It’s a memory I truly cherish. We were only able to have this memory because Kirkwood controlled his pain.

"I am so thankful he spent the last two weeks of his life at Kirkwood. He died free of pain with his dignity intact. Soon after, I joined Kirkwood as a Fundraiser having initially applied for the job on impulse. I am so proud to work for the Hospice; it really is the best job in the world.

"My mum died a few months after I began working for Kirkwood. I’ve honoured the memory of my parents through a leaf on Kirkwood’s Tree of Memories. It’s such a lovely way to remember someone you love.”

To pay your Father’s Day tribute, click here.

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