Jenny's story

Tasha suffered from agoraphobia and spent many years trapped away in her home, her safe place. She found a lump in her arm but couldn’t bring herself to get it checked until one day it had become so big that it ruptured, she had no choice and was rushed to hospital. About three or four weeks later we received the heart-wrenching news that she had cancer. You hear the word and you think the worst, especially as a mum, I just wanted it to not be real.

Tasha was diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. It is something normally only older women get, she was only 29. Because of the type of cancer it was and because she had probably had it for so long meant it had also spread to her lungs. I felt so angry and confused. How could this be happening to my baby? She still had so much life to live. I was terrified.

As a family we were devastated, it felt unreal and so unfair.

A few weeks after Dad received his terminal diagnosis the hospice was recommended to us. My dad knew many people who had been to Dove House and had expressed himself when the time was right that was where he wished to go.

Dove House was amazing from the second they became involved. Tasha went for respite care for a week as she was really struggling with her pain. I am not going to lie, she was terrified. But she did it. It was such a huge step for her but she overcame it. The hospice made her comfortable and she learnt to trust that it could be her safe place.
Tasha said to me one day “I need to get my head around that I am here now and I’m not leaving”. The words broke me. No parent ever wants to hear that, but she was right. I stayed strong for her but inside it was destroying me. She was so brave, and I knew that was what she needed from me too. I was involved in so much of her care and I am so thankful to Dove House for helping me still be Tasha’s mum. I just wanted to do everything I could. Yet I couldn’t do the one thing I wanted to do for her. Take it all away and make her better.

Throughout Tasha’s stay at the hospice, everything was explained to me so that I actually understood it. It was done with such grace and they took the time to spend with me so that I could take it all in. When we came to end-of-life care Sister Rosie and Nurse Kathy were incredible, they took me into a quiet room and talked through with me what it would be like and what to expect so that I wouldn’t be scared.

I stayed upstairs in the hospice’s Family Suites, and it felt like such a relief that I could take some time to recharge my batteries, but I was so close by if she needed me. I don’t live in Hull so it wasn’t like I could just nip home and pop back. Tasha could come up in her wheelchair and we could spend time together. It felt so normal, like we were at home.

One day I had a gut feeling that I just needed to spend as much time with her as I could. Call it a mother’s intuition, but I think I knew it was the end. I laid with her, listening to her breathing. All of a sudden everything was really quiet and she had gone. I told her how much I loved her, it was a blur after that.
I was there at the beginning of her life and I was there at the end.
I still don’t think I can believe she is gone. I still wake up every morning and think of her and go to bed thinking of her. Coming to terms with not hearing her voice again is hard, she had a special ringtone, and knowing that I won’t hear it again breaks my heart. She was my best friend and I miss her like mad.

The hospice is nothing like what you think it will be. It’s not gloomy and dark, it’s actually the complete opposite. I felt safe and secure there and if I needed anything I knew I could ask.

Tasha was really looked after at Dove House which I think helped her be so brave throughout it all, I cannot thank the hospice enough.

Jenny has kindly shared the card that Tasha gave her that is bringing her comfort this Mothers Day.