Miranda's story

My dad, John, had a heart of gold. He was a friendly giant who made friends with everyone and anyone, wherever he went!
He was always an odd ball at parties – grabbing any chance he could to embarrass me. He especially loved taking photos. One flash from his camera and before you knew it, he’d be up the stairs, off to his study and have your picture printed and framed. All those cheesy grins for the camera put such a grin on his face. It was his way of expressing his love.
Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in September 2015 and received treatment for seven years. Over the years, his condition deteriorated, and he needed additional support. It was heartbreaking to see the stoic man I knew as a kid now feeling scared, nothing mum or I could do to ease his pain. That’s why we we’re so grateful for Dove House Hospice.
Through his illness dad had stayed at Dove House – it meant we could be a family again while the amazing staff took on his care. It lifted his spirits – the promise of bubble baths (something he couldn’t have at home) was the clincher!

The hospice holds a special place in our hearts – my mum had volunteered there, and my grandad had been in their care. We always knew dad was in the most capable hands.
By mid-April this year, we learned the cancer had spread to his bones; and, although he’d initially wanted to spend his last days at home, we all realised Dove House was the best place for him to be. When the call came from Dove House at the end of April, they said, ‘There’s a bed available for you John, if you would like it’, so he took it.
The care was phenomenal. I’d never known anything like it, not just for dad – but for us too. Those small moments made the biggest impact: the 2am chats with nurses over cups of tea, meals made up for us – and, as always, that comforting hand to hold. On my birthday, we arranged a party in his room with the whole family – cakes, drinks, and the best birthday gift
of all: his trademark grin.

There’s one memory that sums up Dove House for me. Once, I went down to the hospice café and said to one of the nurses, ‘I need to order food, but don’t want to leave my dad alone for too long.’ They asked for his name and the moment I said it, they were all, ‘Oh, John! Don’t worry, we’ll bring it down.’ All that love and support for our friendly giant meant mum and I didn’t need to be carers anymore; we could simply be his daughter and wife.
My dad gave me so many lasting gifts, but few were greater than those final moments together. Leaving a Gift in your Will to Dove House will allow the hospice to keep giving peace and dignity to patients, like my dad, for years to come.