Terry and her husband David watched as the Rowans Hospice was built in 1994 and nearly 30 years later, it has become Terry’s ‘safe place’.
When Terry and David met in 1977, they instantly clicked. David proposed shortly after, on the wedding anniversary of Terry’s parents. The couple enjoyed many years of marriage, and were blessed with two wonderful daughters, before David was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer and Leukaemia in 2019, which added to the heart problems he was already facing.
Following his diagnosis, it soon became clear that David would require palliative care, as he was unable to undergo treatment due to his health issues. This came as a big shock to the couple and their family.
David spent many months in and out of hospital whilst battling these illnesses, and it was during this time that Terry visited the Rowans Hospice Living Well Centre (LWC) one afternoon, on her way home from visiting David. Terry told us, “I came into the reception and said, ‘I don’t know why I am here’ and immediately Trish and Helen opened up a conversation and relaxed me. The support I received was amazing, and as soon I walked through the door I was made to feel welcome.”
Terry continued to visit the LWC on her way home from seeing David, and learnt about the different groups available. She decided she would like to attend some of the groups together with David, however, she knew that David didn’t usually join in with things outside of the immediate circle of family and friends, and that it might be difficult to persuade him. Terry showed David the leaflets she had been given, and although interested in the classes, the leaflets were kept in his drawer at the hospital for a while. But Terry had felt so comforted and welcomed by the LWC team, she made it her mission to get David through the door, too!
One afternoon, whilst driving home from the hospital, having seen the support that Terry was receiving, David asked to stop by the Living Well Centre. Terry told us, “from that day we never looked back.” David felt as safe and as welcomed as Terry had, and soon chose a group for the couple to attend.
Due to the ongoing treatment, David struggled with his appetite, and decided he wanted to attend the group “Eating Well, Living Well” – a course which provides help and advice for the kitchen, with easy recipes to follow. They both loved the fact they were able to do something special together, whilst also supporting David’s appetite.
David’s health started to deteriorate in 2020, and he was admitted to the Rowans Hospice. After spending some time on the In-patient Unit, the team felt that David was stable enough to be transferred to Latham Lodge Care Home, where he peacefully passed away in April 2020. This was an excruciatingly tough period for Terry, as her mum also died just four days later, and with the country going into the first COVID-19 lockdown, this left Terry feeling extremely isolated.
The Living Well Centre supported Terry throughout this time, both virtually and in-person, and she still attends weekly sessions with the Bereavement Support Group, where she has made many friendships. Terry told us, “speaking with people who have been through the same thing as me has been really helpful. It’s been like a lifeline for me.”
To find out more about the courses and activities offered at the Living Well Centre, both face-to-face and online, find out more here: https://www.rowanshospice.co.uk/care/living-well-centre/