The wives of two men who were cared for by Havens Hospices before they died have given emotional interviews in two new films to raise awareness of hospice care.
The release of the films marks the start of Hospice Care Week (3rd – 9th October), a nationwide campaign across the country which asks what ‘Hospice Care Is…?’.
In the films Jean Sleap, 71, from Rayleigh speaks of the “amazing” boost that Fair Havens Hospice gave to her husband Brian, before he died of emphysema aged 74, on 30th January 2016.
Brian was cared for by Fair Havens Hospice, which is part of Havens Hospices that also incorporates Little Havens. He attended Day Care at Fair Havens before being admitted to the In-Patient Unit at the hospice when his condition seriously deteriorated shortly after Christmas 2015.
In the film Jean explains,
“My phone rang about 7 in the morning and they said, ‘Brian's a little bit poorly we think you need to get up here very quickly’ and I was so shocked, really shocked.
“All the family managed to get in there, I think it was about 15 of us around the bed. We all took it in turns holding his hand. The doctor came in and she looked at him and said he's struggling with his breathing and my heart went out to him. He fought right to the end, until he couldn't hear our voices any longer. And then it was very peaceful.
“My whole family are amazed by Fair Havens, which is why I wanted to do the film and why we fundraise in Brian’s memory. We’re proud of his name, proud that he was at Fair Havens, proud of the way he fought and proud that we can help the hospice.”
In a second film Michelle Copley, from Shoeburyness, speaks about her husband Richard, an airline pilot, who died on 26th May 2013 after being diagnosed with kidney cancer which had also spread to his lungs and two years later, to his brain.
The couple, who have two sons, also turned to Fair Havens when caring for Richard at home became too difficult.
In the emotional footage Michelle explains how Fair Havens ensured they were given time as a family,
“It was a very precious two weeks that they gave us. We could concentrate on the four of us being together as a family. In Fair Havens, everything was calm, everything was dignified. You had privacy when you wanted privacy. You had support when you wanted support.
“The night before Richard died, they brought beds in for the boys to sleep in so we spent the time together. On the last day the boys went home and I spent the night with him. There was a large armchair recliner and they moved it up close to the bed. I was actually able to lay beside him with my hand on his chest. I was holding his hands as he passed, I was there for the last moment.”
Havens Hospices is asking the local community to help during Hospice Care Week by sharing the films on social media and to make a donation by texting HAVE00 £3 to 70070.
Both films can be found on Havens Hospices You Tube channel or at www.havenshospices.org.uk/hospicecareis