Josephine’s story

Posted: November 9, 2016 | A story.

In February last year, my healthy, fit and vivacious friend, Anne, was diagnosed with cancer of indeterminate origin. 5 months later she was dead. Those 5 months were beyond horrific for her as she desperately sought to fight a disease that had already thoroughly consumed her body by the time it was detected. For her friends and family who stayed by her side in shifts around the clock – it was nothing short of heart breaking. Due to the aggressive nature of the cancer, Anne deteriorated quickly and drastically and it became exhausting for her roster of caring friends and family to keep her at home.

2 weeks before she died, Anne was at her lowest ebb and her friends and family were no longer coping. I convinced her to go to Hospice just so that she could get stronger to continue her fight. In reality it was to give her sister, my mother, and her best friends some much needed respite.

Hospice was such a revelation for Anne, and everyone who loved her. The staff cared for not only Anne, but all of us as we took it in turn to sleep by her side. They gave Anne the comfort, the reassurance and the medical care around the clock that she needed to be comfortable. They supported and consoled the rest of us as we grieved for our friend and a life left half finished.

For me, for Anne, for her friends and family, Hospice was the best part of what was a terrible illness. Being in such lovely surroundings with caring supportive staff was a huge relief. It allowed us to concentrate on reminiscing, saying all the things we didn’t want to leave unsaid, laughing, crying and caring for our friend.

If I had known what I know now, we would have visited Hospice much earlier for respite care. Hospice is a place filled with positivity, light and love that makes even the darkest of days much, much better.

When I left on that last day, I promised that when I was in a position I would give back to Hospice so that others can continue to benefit from this incredible service.

Josephine Miles