Kirsty's story

We had been on a family holiday and had a great time but we knew something was wrong, my Mum was ill. She’s from the generation that don’t make a fuss, tell you they’re fine when they’re not and refuse to slow down but knew then that she needed to get checked out. I was prepared for the refusal, the ‘I am fine’ but didn’t get that, just a yes and ‘will you come with me?’.
Mum had fluid on her lungs and was sent to Hull Royal for tests, my sister took her as I was at work but I soon got a phone call telling me I need to get there. We were told it was lung cancer and that it was stage 4.
The diagnosis was in the September and we all rallied round to make the most of the time we had left. We had the best Christmas and really cherished the time together as a family. I am thankful for this as I know some families don’t even get that luxury. In many ways I am thankful this happened before the pandemic hit.
Things were coming to an end, she had been in hospital some time when the nurses asked us if she had any final wishes - we said Dove House. We always knew the hospice was there as we play the Lottery and Mum had always said that’s where she wanted to be. We were lucky enough to get a bed but the hospital nurses warned us that she may not make the journey. I cannot describe the feeling when you first walk in, it’s nothing like you imagine. It’s warm and friendly – I mean the people, their faces, their gestures, their looks. It was exactly what we needed without even realising it.
We are a big family and we were all made to feel welcome. Myself, my sister and two brothers all stayed at the hospice and took it in turns to be with Mum, we wouldn’t have been able to do that in hospital. Her grandkids were her world and the hospice allowed us to be together as a family. It meant the world to Mum to have her grandkids close. I’m not saying it was easy, of course it wasn’t, the reality was someone we loved dearly was dying but Dove House helped us get through it and made it as easy as it could possibly be.
We took great comfort in the gardens, they were a place of relief when it all got a bit much. A place to gather my thoughts and tears, a place my boys could enjoy. I also spent some time in the York Room, it was peaceful and it was heart-warming to read other family’s messages and comments in the Book of Remembrance, just to know we were not alone was a great reassurance, to know all the feelings and emotions I had, others had too. Everyone at Dove House supported us. From the nurses and doctors to the cleaners and kitchen staff. Knowing that on a night I could go into the kitchen and make a cuppa and always have someone to talk to really helped me to cope.
When the time came, we were all there by Mum’s side, just like she wanted. They allowed us as long as we needed to say goodbye properly. I cannot even put into words the difference they made to my Mum and to us. I cannot thank Dove House enough. I literally cannot express how thankful we all are for the love and kindness Dove House showed us.
The hospice is like a paradise, I know that sounds weird but that’s what it feels like. It’s so far removed from anything like being in hospital, it’s where you would want your loved ones to have their final days.
Without Dove House I don’t know what we would have done. In a way they brought our family together when we needed it most.”