Rhona - Our story

Donna, my daughter, received end-of-life care at Dove House at just 40 years old. Donna decided the hospice was the right place for her care at this stage, and quite honestly, we were relieved. Donna had been fighting bowel cancer but after having her bowel removed we found that the cancer had spread. We had been caring for her at home, but the time had come, and it was what she wanted. It took such a weight off our shoulders. Instead of looking after her every need we could rely on the hospice to do that. We could be her family, support her emotionally and enjoy our time together without any pressure.

We had a long road to walk with Donna and we would have been lost without Dove House. The hospice supported us every step of the way and ensured every last minute we had together was cherished.
I don’t think we could have walked the path alone and Dove House made sure we didn’t have to. I could trust their decisions and it took some pressure off as we just didn’t have the answers.

Some of the happiest times we had with Donna were actually at Dove House would you believe. We spent every day and night with her. Donna’s children, Lucy and Christopher, were able to be at the hospice whenever they wanted which was incredible.

Dove House gave us freedom which helped us cherish those moments. I think we would have stumbled and tripped at the end if it hadn’t been for the hospice. Everyone there made it a happy time for us, not miserable, not sad. We knew, no matter what, she was safe and receiving such expert care.
The hospice granted what little wishes Donna had which meant to world to us all. I think throughout her illness we came to realise that it’s the little things that matter. One day she mentioned she fancied a snowball and a trifle and just like that the staff appeared with both! We even had a second Christmas at the hospice, we all celebrated together one last time. Dove House helped us make such special memories that live on with us.

Donna said one night “I am dying aren’t I Mum?”. I have never lied to her, I had to say the hardest answer I would ever give her was “yes”. It just wasn’t right; she was still so young, she had so much life left to experience with her children.

We were able to be there until Donna was ready to go. Losing your child is the hardest thing I imagine any parent can ever go through but as a family, we weathered that storm well with the help of Dove House.

Donna will never be forgotten – she goes wherever we go. Bereavement has been hard for me, having to say a final goodbye to your child is something you never expect to have to do, not this way round. The hospice’s family support team have helped such a lot, their kindness, and supportive words have meant I can now look back on the little things and smile.