Ethan and Jared's story

Ethan & Jared’s Mum Beth spent two months at the hospice before she died peacefully. She was exactly where she wanted to be. Her husband Carl and their two children, Ethan 15 years old and Jared 11 years old, had come to love the hospice and everyone in it. Their time there was filled with laughter, joy and precious family memories that they hold dear to their heart. It’s those moments that still bring them joy when they look back and think about their Mum.

As a family they had the most jam packed, fun filled last eight years from when Beth first received her breast cancer diagnosis. They traveled, went on as many rollercoasters they could and literally cherished every last second, they had together. It was only right that when they all came to the hospice that they continued this magnificent embrace for life.
Beth was cared for in the hospice’s Inpatient Unit during the first lockdown but as we had continued to allow visitors the boys were able to spend time with their mum. They were able to spend precious time together as a family. Ethan particularly took to helping to feed his Mum towards the end. They did amazing crafts with our Activities Coordinator Amanda, who they built a beautiful friendship with over the eight weeks and one of our social workers, Janet, who played many games with them to help them talk about their emotions. Janet also arranged for them to have a movie night at the hospice, together, like they would have done at home. Covid restrictions meant that all patients had their own room and this enabled the whole family to sleep over with Beth. Treat boxes of popcorn and sweets were prepared by the hospice team to make it extra special. They then enjoyed breakfast in bed together the next morning. Dove House meant they could do everyday family things that when your able to are often taken for granted, these things were all the boys wanted to do.
There are so many amazing moments they had at the hospice, even a secret mission to organise a surprise birthday celebration for their Dad with cake and presents so that Beth could be included. Ethan and Jared both talk so fondly of all of their memories of the hospice, this really helped them to cope with their grief when their mum died. Because of this, both boys came back to the hospice to access support from our Children’s Bereavement Groups and even helped made a mini tour film of the hospice, to hopefully show other families what a hospice looks like through the eyes of children. Hospices, if you haven’t been before can be daunting for everyone and Ethan and Jared want you to know that actually it is a really lovely, warm and inviting place that can bring you so much joy amongst the sadness.

Ethan shared with us: “The hospice is like a home from home, we did everything we would do that we would have done at home. That was very special for us and made us feel so much more relaxed than we thought we would be. The gardens are fantastic, we really enjoyed being able to go out there and play games with Janet. Sometimes you just need a minute and that’s ok.”

Jared, attended Music Therapy with his brother at the hospice had this to say: “We really looked forward to our sessions. We even recorded some of my Mum’s favorite Disney songs. Music Therapy gave us the opportunity to just get anything out, sometimes banging on the drums and letting it all out is just what you need. You don’t have to talk, you can just play. It has really helped me and helped make it easier to come back to the hospice after Mum died.”

When you think of a hospice you don’t necessarily think of a young family like this, but the reality is we have lots of families just like Ethan and Jared’s that come to us for help.