Following the unexpected deaths of her daughter and husband, Rosemary Wright has learned to live with her grief thanks to bereavement support from Treetops Hospice.
Rosemary, 79, from Chester Green was a regular runner with her daughter, when Deb, 52, suddenly developed earache. When a course of antibiotics failed to work, Deb visited A&E where she was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.
The devastating news was a complete shock as Rosemary explained:
“From her initial diagnosis, we had six weeks with Deb. It was such a shock as she was so fit and healthy. Every little goal she set herself was taken away. After she died, I was really angry, because she had had so much planned.
“Deb and I had a good relationship. She wanted to learn to run so she asked me if I’d go running with her. She completed a marathon and she even ran with the Olympic torch.”
Rosemary’s husband of 57 years, Ken, never recovered from their loss.
“Ken died in January last year. He had a heart problem and went downhill after Deb died. He never really got over it and ended up not wanting to live which was hard to take. We’d been together for sixty years and suddenly you’re only half a person, you’re no longer whole anymore.
“It was difficult to come to terms with it all because Deb would have given anything to stay with us, whereas the old man had had enough.
“Ken didn’t want a funeral as such, he just wanted to go with nobody there, with no fuss. We knew the day he was going to be cremated but not the time. That was hard as a family, as we couldn’t really say goodbye. But it’s what he wanted.”
During a visit to the Treetops Hospice drop-in café in Derby city centre, Rosemary found out about counselling support available to her.
“I’d never had counselling before, so I was a bit wary. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I’d be asked a lot of questions and find it difficult to answer. But my counsellor, Ian was a very caring and kind person and drew things out of me. I made an effort to come to the counselling session every week, however bad I was feeling.
“I didn’t want to talk to family or friends about how I was feeling. You don’t want to upset them and there’s things you can’t really say because you know they’re going through the same thing. They have also lost a wife, a mum, a sister, a dad… You tend to just muddle on.
“Ian helped me realise I hadn’t really had time to grieve myself, that it was put on hold. Counselling put me on a more even keel. It really helped.”
Rosemary now attends the ‘Tears to Laughter’ group, a weekly peer support group for bereaved adults and Tai Chi at the hospice based in Risley.
“It’s still hard and it’s never going to go away. I’ve lost a daughter and my old man.
“You go from day to day because that’s what they’d want you to do and Deb wouldn’t want me to sit and mope all the time.
“But now when I get distracted or angry, I can relate to the things I talked about with Ian.
“Without counselling, I think I would have just muddled through and carried on as best as I could.”
For further information about Treetops services visit www.treetops.org.uk or call 0115 949 1264.
This year, Treetops Hospice is celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in the local community. During this time, the hospice has supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.
About Treetops Hospice
Treetops Hospice, the leading end-of-life care charity in Derby, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions, and their families.
The charity provides support from diagnosis onwards for patients with conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions.
This year, we are very proud to be celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in our local community. During this time, we have supported thousands of patients with end-of-life nursing care and bereavement counselling.
We have achieved this amazing milestone thanks to our dedicated volunteers who help across the whole hospice and in our charity shops, our hard-working staff team, and our supporters, past and present.
Last year, our team of Hospice at Home nurses provided over 20,000 hours of care to terminally-ill patients, working day and night to give much-needed support.
Our team of bereavement counsellors provided over 4,500 counselling sessions – more than 900 of them to children and young people. Wellbeing team members provide valuable information and support to those who need it.
Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need and welcomes donations to ensure the future of the hospice and its services: www.treetopshospice.org.uk/donate
A counselling session for a bereaved child costs £34.50. An overnight Hospice at Home nursing shift for a patient at the end of life costs £108.
Treetops Hospice, Derby Road, Risley, Derbyshire, DE72 3SS
0115 949 1264 | www.treetopshospice.org.uk
Registered Charity Number 519540