Kath & Rhys's story

My husband Rhys came to Dove House for respite care after being diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in September 2017. We knew he was ill very early on, but we had no idea it was MND. Rhys was such a strong man, he navigated his illness with such courage and strength and I couldn’t have been prouder of him. Our whole family rallied and has been incredibly supportive throughout everything.

The hospice was introduced early in Rhys’s diagnosis, Elaine - the MND Community Specialist Nurse at Dove House - was at his appointments at the hospital and we would have been lost without her.

Elaine is a friendly link to Dove House, she bridges that nerve wracking step that we found ourselves needing to take. The thought of coming to the hospice was scary. She was our rock, explaining everything really well to us, and holding our hands throughout it all.

Rhys really enjoyed his respite stays at Dove House. Elaine helped him to feel comfortable and took our worries away, the care we both received was brilliant. They asked if I wanted to talk to anyone or even if I wanted complimentary therapy which really helped me to relax and take the load off my shoulders for a little while.
Everyone at the hospice is just lovely, they are all very efficient at what they do and always attentive to our needs. We honestly couldn’t have asked for more. Rhys spoke to one of the social workers but at the time it just didn’t feel right for me. I kept everything in.

After Rhys died I heard of the Together in Grief walk that had started up at the hospice and a friend suggested I give it a go. After Covid I was ready to get back out in the world. I then went on to attend the Welcome Wednesday Bereavement CafĂ© and the Friday Friends group, I’ve not looked back. The groups give me something to look forward to. Right from the beginning I made friends with three lovely women who had also lost their husbands and know what that feels like. It is really nice to have them support me and to be able to support them too. 

At Welcome Wednesday I am surrounded by like minded people, there’s a lot to be said about just being able to talk. Friday Friends is filled with crafts, games, and quizzes and we also play bingo, but it also gives you a chance to talk to one another. I get so much out of my time at the hospice, it has also given me a life outside of the groups which I have found really helpful. I have gone from doing absolutely nothing to going out every day. My grief is getting better and easier to manage but there is always something to do or someone to get in touch with when the bad days come around.