"Dad had his own room, and the atmosphere at Manorlands was so peaceful and welcoming. I can't fault the care we received."

Graham Bateson stated before his death that he wanted to spend his final days in a hospice. His daughter Michelle was reticent about this when the time came, but as soon as she set foot in our Manorlands Hospice, she knew he was in the right place. This is Graham’s story told in Michelle’s own words.

“It was a real eye-opener when I first stepped into the hospice; how different it was from what I’d expected.

“My dad Graham - known as Rusty because of his red hair - was diagnosed with lymphoma in July 2015. Unfortunately, it was an aggressive form of cancer and he was often in hospital – sometimes we didn’t even know if he would come out.

“He was a very practical man and would do anything to protect us. While in hospital, he told us exactly what he wanted to happen should his health deteriorate dramatically. At the time, I wasn’t ready to listen to plans for his final days, but now, looking back, I’m grateful he made them.

“At the beginning of 2016, Dad’s cancer became more aggressive, but treatments seemed to start working; by July, however, his condition worsened and he became really confused.

“We asked to move him to the local hospice only because this was his wish. At this point he was not able to take any decisions, but as he’d discussed with us his wishes for his future care, we knew exactly what to do.”

A dignified death without regrets

“I confess I was concerned at the idea of Dad going into Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. When thinking of a hospice, I always pictured a sad place where there were lots of very sick people waiting to die.

“When I think about it now, it’s incredible how wrong I was, but I couldn’t know any better as I’d never had to access a hospice before.

“As soon as we arrived at the hospice with Dad, both Mum and I felt relieved. We received a warm welcome. Everyone was so caring and attentive, he had his own room, and the atmosphere was so peaceful and welcoming. I can’t fault the care my Dad received; it was great.

“He died with dignity. The Sue Ryder Nurses made sure to keep his pain under control, and they told us what effect the medicine would have on him and what was likely to happen towards the end.

“I have no regrets about his final days.”

“At the bereavement service, we’re all going through the same rocky journey”

“When I think back to the days my Mum and I spent at Manorlands, I realise they were not only looking after Dad, but us as well.

“They were asking questions to make sure we were okay, and they always told us we could talk to anyone at any time if we felt the need.

“I now attend the drop-in bereavement service offered by Manorlands Hospice.

“After Dad’s death, I started having problems sleeping. I used to have horrible nightmares – really scary ones – and it was like all my fears and anxieties would come out at night.

“I wasn’t too sure about attending the drop-in bereavement service; I was imagining a group of people sitting in a circle taking it in turns to talk about how bereft they felt. But it’s not like that at all.

“Everybody is so lovely. We are all going through the same rocky journey. You can talk about how you feel if you want, but you don’t have to, and you don’t spend the whole time just talking about your loss. We laugh, share stories and talk about trips we’ve made; we talk about all sorts of things. We have also started going out socially for a meal and it’s really nice.

“The service is also of great help to my Mum. We often attend together.”

More about Manorlands Hospice