Have Breakfast for Heart of Kent Hospice
WHY YOU SHOULD ‘HAVE BREAKFAST FOR HEART OF KENT HOSPICE’ THIS FEBRUARY
Maggie and Dick’s Story
Maggie Lamb’s beloved husband Dick was battling oesophageal cancer at their home in West Malling when they were offered the support of Mary, a Community Nurse Specialist from Heart of Kent Hospice.
“I didn’t ever expect to have to come into the Hospice, to be truthful. But Dick rapidly deteriorated as the days went by and became so ill. Mary suggested that he would benefit from 24 hour care at the Hospice, I wasn’t sure, but he just said ‘I need to go to the hospice’ –Dick made the choice and I was happy with that.”
Like so many Maggie expected a place associated with death, to be depressing. A sad end to the wonderful life of the man she had barely spent a night apart from in 52 years.
“We were together 52 years. We were so lucky because we were great friends and we used to have fun. I fancied the pants off him,” Maggie recalled.
The moment she and 58-year-old Dick entered the Hospice it marked not the end, but the start of something new.
“Coming through the doors I grew 6 inches as the weight lifted from my shoulders. I felt so safe, and I know Dick did too. The nurses became responsible for his care and I became his wife again.”
“The specialist care patients and their relatives receive at Heart of Kent Hospice is over and above anything you could ever expect.”
“I lived with him for 16 days – it was amazing that I was able to do what was right for us 24/7. Our room was room nine. Yes, 4 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday. It was big enough to push another bed in so we had this enormous great double bed and I could cuddle him, we used to snuggle up…it was so special. They used to say ‘oh, you two love each other’ and we did, we were so happy.”
“That’s when one of the nurses said ‘Maggie – it’s got to be called the honeymoon suite.
“I was the luckiest girl on earth, we had such a lovely ending – we were together all the time, I never left him it was fantastic. We had time to talk but then of course he got so gravely ill towards the end he couldn’t talk at all.”
Retired engineer Dick – who was affectionately known to his two grandchildren as ‘Bampie’ – faced his final hours at Christmas, a time of the year when most people are celebrating with their family.
“I wrapped all the pressies up in the room. They came in on Christmas Eve and sat with Bampie, it was very special. The nurses made it for us. They let us do that, anywhere else I can’t possibly imagine you would get that. It was just wonderful, so to me that was the most incredible part. There are always Carol singers in the Hospice on Christmas Eve.”
“The nurses not only cared for Dick so well, they always used to check on me. I’m a very resilient person and always think positively, but they would always check to make sure I’d eaten, and ask, ‘Are you ok?’
“It’s another wonderful thing that they do, they not only look after the patient, they look after the family or whoever. They go way and beyond anything you could dream of.”
Since Dick’s death Maggie has worked tirelessly to give something back to the hospice that made her final days with her late husband Dick so special. Twice a week she works as a volunteer with patients and in the hospice’s café. She also helps out at fundraising events.
Maggie added: “I was shocked to learn that this wonderful part of our community relies heavily on donations for its funding. I think we all just assume it’s like a hospital. Once I found this out I just knew I had to help in any way I could. Be it volunteering or fundraising.
“The Hospice specialises in end-of-life care. Dick received the care he needed and I was supported as well. Dick chose to come here, I’m glad he did and that we had our time, in the honeymoon suite! We made new memories at a tremendously difficult time in our lives. It is a very, very special place to me.”
Between 12th – 26th February, be part of the community getting together to “Have Breakfast for Heart of Kent Hospice”. Organise a breakfast, attend a breakfast, or simply make a donation to celebrate the outstanding care that Heart of Kent Hospice provides to families such as Maggie and Dick Lamb.
Suggestions of “14 Ways” to raise money in “14 Days” are being shared on social media and with supporters, you can help too by sharing Maggie’s story. As an independent charity, we are dependent on the generosity of our local community to raise £4 out of every £5 we spend on patient care. Contributions such as yours make an invaluable difference, helping us to respond to the increasing need for our care and support from our local community.
For more information, please visit the Hospice breakfast homepage: https://www.hokh.org/events/detail/have-breakfast-for-heart-of-kent-hospice