"For us, the time together as a family was so precious – and Wheatfields Hospice made that possible"

Joyce Whitley lost Stuart, her husband of 12 years, to bowel cancer four years ago. Here, in her own words, she shares their story.

"When Stuart was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, it came as a massive shock. He had absolutely no symptoms and we were looking forward to spending our retirement together.

"Initially he attended the day therapy service at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. This certainly lifted his mood, and he was starting to see the hospice in a different light.

"He then had to be admitted in the inpatient unit to help manage his pain and look at his medications. It was during that stay Stuart then decided that, when the time was right, he would like to end his days there, and not at home as he originally requested."

24 hours a day together

Stuart ended up spending his last days at Wheatfields. It was at this point that I decided to put work on hold and move into the hospice with him.

"I spent 24 hours each day at his side, and the nursing staff was marvellous. Nothing was too much trouble for them, and they were literally there for Stuart and me day or night, as and when we needed them.

"I spent around 10 days there, and then the kids moved in too. Again, beds were made up, and we all slept like babies. For us, the time together as a family was so precious, and Wheatfields Hospice made this possible."

"I owe my sanity to Wheatfields Hospice"

"We could not have wished for anything better for Stuart. He passed away, knowing that we were all by his side, and I know he felt totally loved.

"We feel truly blessed as a family, to have been able to do this and to have received four full weeks of round-the-clock attention.

"I owe my sanity to Wheatfields Hospice. At first I felt angry that I was going to be robbed of my husband, but what helped me the most afterwards was attending the group counselling sessions at the hospice where Stuart died."

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