Peter’s story – Hospiscare live the suffering with us

Peter Duggen remembers his wife, Tina, and shares his grief journey and the support he is receiving from Hospiscare

“I met Tina in a nightclub and a friend of mine was trying to chat her up – she just totally destroyed him. So I went over there and spoke to her and, I don’t know, there was something about it and I thought okay, I’ll buy you a drink.

“So we met and eventually, I moved in with Tina. We were together for just over a month and, I don’t know, there was always something in the back of our minds because, don’t forget, we had a strange relationship. I took her to a restaurant and if you say to somebody, do you want to get married? There’s a pause – but there was no pause. It was like an echo.

“When I used to walk with Tina, I felt like £10 million, in everything. We were happy, mega happy.”

A woman and man with their arms around each other

After 34 years together, Peter’s wife, Tina, was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. After being cared for at home by Hospiscare’s community nurses, Tina was admitted to our ward in August 2020.

“The head nurse from Hospiscare, she talked to me outside the house and she said, you’re going to get burnt out and you need to rest. I said I don’t mind but she said, you’re just going to crash and you’ll be no help to Tina. She advised me to take Tina to the hospice. I spoke to Tina and she said yes, if I don’t like it, I’ll come home.

“When I got to the hospice, I felt the calmness and the understanding and the love.”

Tina died on our ward on 23 August 2020. Since Tina’s death, Peter has been supported by our Supportive Care Team.

A man and woman smiling in an outdoor seating area

“When I started the sessions on the phone, obviously because of the COVID situation, it was not easy on the phone but I think after a few sessions, you started to realise where it was going.

“It’s a very hard thing to talk about but, the thing is, it’s got to be talked about because somewhere along the line, you’ve got to get on with your life and carry on. Hospiscare can’t solve your problems. It can’t create a cure where you have three sessions with Hospiscare and you’re alright now. You’re the only one that can do it but they will help you.

“We go through the suffering, but they understand that we’re suffering and they live it with us.

“You always will be in that tunnel of not knowing what’s going on and how you’re going to get on with your life. Unfortunately, I’m still in that tunnel but I’m starting to see a bit of light in the tunnel. The thing is, you’ve got to say to yourself, if you can see it, then control it and carry on. Then, maybe at the end of it, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

After being supported over the phone during the pandemic by Sarah, our Complementary Therapist, Peter and Sarah were able to meet in person for the first time since Tina’s death in October 2021.

Peter continues to be supported by our Supportive Care team to help him on his journey to find the light at the end of his tunnel.

To find out more about Hospiscare’s supportive care services, email supportivecare@hospiscare.co.uk or call 01392 688016.