Wendy & John's story

I had so many unanswered questions. Was I doing the right thing? What if he didn’t like it? What if we couldn’t visit? What if this was the start of the end? How would we cope? 

I felt so alone but I had to do something. I just couldn’t bare to see John in pain.

As the ambulance pulled up outside of Dove House, I felt the knot in my stomach tighten. I held John’s hand as we approached the doors. The reception was filled with light, and everyone had smiling faces. My knot started to loosen. As we made it round to John’s room the nurses greeted us with reassuring words and before I knew it John was comfortable and pain-free, and I had the first warm cup of tea in my hand in a long time. 

Suddenly I realised that my anxiety had eased and all of those worries I had were answered without even realising it.

The doctors at Dove House are incredible, they talked us through everything and answered every question no matter how small with grace and kindness. A wonderful lady would come and give John a relaxing foot massage to elevate his discomfort. She even gave me a hand massage to help me relax which was amazing. Being at the hospice was not at all what we had expected. You can feel the love and care radiating in the building, in every person you meet, and in everything they do for you. 

I can’t believe I was ever so worried to come to Dove House! Now I cannot imagine anywhere else we would rather have been. A lady from the family support team came to visit us and offered us such supportive words, words that comforted me like a warm hug and helped me see the joy in every day we had left with each other. It’s funny how a terminal illness suddenly makes you stop and notice the little things. The cool breeze blowing in the open door as the nurses wheeled John’s bed out into the garden so that we could sit out together, the beautiful flowers dotted around the ward, the lovely gesture as a nurse came to make me a bed up so that I could stay the night to the soft voice of one of the volunteers as she popped her head around the curtain with a fresh cup of tea that she knew I needed but hadn’t asked for.

What came next wasn’t how I imagined the end for John would be. It was peaceful and calm. I laid with him in bed, our hands touching while listening to our favourite records. His breathing got shallower and then he was gone. 

I was able to stay with John for as long as I wanted to and until I was ready. A nurse held my hand for as long as I needed, and I am incredibly thankful for that as it allowed me to process that the love of my life had really died. 

The support Dove House showed us was more than I could ever have hoped for. Every doctor and nurse made such a difference in how the end played out for us. They eased our anxieties, were strong for me when I couldn’t be, and helped John die peacefully and respectfully. I know that’s what John wanted and with the help of the hospice, it was possible. 

As I walked out of the hospice doors without John, I knew I wasn’t alone. I had the support of Dove House to hold me up and help me with my next chapter.