Dawn's story

Dawn's story, told by her husband Tony.

Dawn was an amazing woman – a businesswoman, a fashionista, she gave 110 per cent all the time and was always helping other people.

So when Dawn fell ill it was the wonderful Hospiscare doctors and staff who were there to care for her. We met in our early 50’s and on our third date, looking around Exeter Cathedral, Dawn told me she loved me! We were soul mates and lived every moment together for 20 years. When Dawn was diagnosed with cancer the roof fell in on our world.

Eighteen months into her illness I started nursing Dawn and in November 2014 she was admitted to Searle House Hospice . The comfort the staff brought to those who are affected by their loved one’s illness, not just the person being treated was amazing.

They lifted me, from opening the front door into reception and receiving a warm greeting and knowing you are being looked after, to the spiritual help from the chaplain, to the doctors who sit quietly and talk about change of medication, to the male nurse who would just know when to give a hug, it was seamless care.  It was so professional and yet so warm.

It’s another level. Dawn was thrilled when her dog Darcy was allowed to visit her and lie on her bed. That made a big difference, especially on Christmas Day. Darcy would lie next to Dawn who put her hand on her head. It was so comforting.

Rachel, our Hospiscare community nurse, prepared me for Dawn’s last hours by describing, in such a professional and caring way, what it would be like. That’s invaluable information. You are never prepared for your loved one to die. You are never prepared to let go.

I take great comfort in knowing that our last days together were so special and precious because of Hospiscare.  I am passionate that this amazing charity can be there for others, because without the hospice and the care given by their nurses, it’s got to be a sad end.