“Trips to the hospital were traumatic events with the condition Richard was in. He was confused and in a lot of pain. He needed so much care that when Fair Havens said they had a bed for him, I wept with sheer relief.”
Richard had cancer of the kidney which had also spread to his lungs. His wife Michelle said, “He lived life to the full, even when he had cancer. Richard resolved that he would beat it, and he was prepared to do whatever it took."
Two years later, Richard had a seizure and soon found out that he also had brain tumours.
"The cancer started to run away with him. He had an infection and whilst it was being investigated they discovered that the cancer had begun to spread more rapidly too. All of this left him confused and disorientated. He was also unable to walk because of a wound and so he was now bedridden too.”
Richard became more and more confused and was in a lot of pain. He had specialist nurses and carers visiting at home every day.
"After having bloods taken, his calcium levels were found to be high and rising which was a bad sign. Trips to the hospital were stressful and traumatic events with the condition Richard was in. I was so worried about what to do for the best so, when the hospice rang me to say they had a bed, I just wept with sheer relief.”
Richard stayed at the hospice for two weeks. His two boys would visit every day and Michelle spent the night there too.
"Richard needed so much care he wasn't the man I knew any more. But when Fair Havens took us in I became his wife once again. I just knew he was in safe hands. There were no false promises, no ifs, buts or maybes. There was certainty and calm."
"I have regrets from before. Did I do enough? Have I missed something? What if I'd done things differently? But I have no regrets from the time we got to Fair Havens. I had total faith in their desire and ability to make it right and I made the most of the time together that they gave us."
“The day he died, the nurses warned me that Richard was getting weaker and so I stayed with him the whole time. That evening they moved the reclining armchair up close to the bed so it was as near to being a double bed as possible. I fell asleep with my arm resting on his chest and when his breathing started to become erratic I knew and woke up. I held his hand, stroked his hair, told him I loved him and he did just as they said he would and quietly slipped away, his hand in mine."
"Fair Havens did everything they could for us and not once did Richard lose his dignity, not even after he had died. He looked so peaceful, just as though he was asleep - and that is the picture that we will always remember.”
“The current Fair Havens Hospice only has a small number of beds. What would we have done if one had not been available when we needed it? How different would Richard’s passing have been? The people at the hospice did everything within their power to ensure that Richard and all of his family had everything we needed, that his dignity was maintained and that when the time came, it was as peaceful, painless and gentle as it could have been. This should be available to as many people as possible. I really don’t know what I would have done if they had told me there wasn’t a bed free or as may be the case in the future, it had closed. Who would I have turned to?"
“Losing someone you care so deeply for is hard, but Fair Havens held our hand throughout and even now they still keep in contact to see if there is anything more they can do. Fair Havens has touched many lives. With a new and improved hospice they could reach many, many more. We NEED Fair Havens.”
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