“We wanted Mum with us more than anything but we couldn’t watch her suffer any longer. She was dying and needed help. From the moment we arrived at Fair Havens, we knew it was the only place for her.”
Pauline was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2006 and after various treatments she was given the all clear. In June 2010 the cancer returned to Pauline’s stomach, bones and eventually, her brain.
“Having cancer changed my Mum a lot, in a good way. Everyone says life is too short and it’s so sad that it takes something like cancer to make you actually realise it,” said her daughter Sophie.
“Everything happened so quickly after Christmas 2012. Mum’s legs started to get wobbly so she’d fall over a lot and she’d temporarily lose her vision. It happened more and more and she kept going downhill. Something wasn’t right. As time went on she started having seizures and falling unconscious. The doctors confirmed the cancer had spread to her brain. There was nothing they could do except offer radiotherapy to try and extend her life but the doctor said she wasn’t strong enough."
“I never, in a million years, thought cancer could do what it did. It took over her mind. It was cruel. We could see she was dying and we needed help. Mum had three options; to stay in hospital, go home or go to Fair Havens Hospice."
“If she’d come home it would have been too much for us to cope. She had been in and out of hospital for weeks and was fed up. She didn’t want to go back there. We went to have a look around the hospice and as soon as we got there, we knew how much easier it would make things."
“Mum stayed at Fair Havens for just over two weeks, although it felt like months. From the moment we arrived it was just instant care and we knew it was the only place for her."
“Nothing was ever a problem. Mum didn’t want a proper meal the majority of the time but loved her jelly and ice cream and we’d bring in penny sweets for her. It was her birthday whilst we were there and we were sitting around her bed when she said ‘Where’s the pink champagne?’ It was so funny. My sister went out and bought some and she drank a whole cup through a straw. She really enjoyed it."
“In her last few days, her breathing was slowing down but we all sat with her and spoke about our memories, telling stories. She was unconscious for most of that time but the nurses would still speak to her like any other person, which was so nice. Every now and then she’d wake up and say something funny and I’d think, ‘There you are Mum, shining through'."
“The amount of dignity and respect they gave Mum will always stay with us. She died in the most comfortable way possible, in the most peaceful atmosphere surrounded by the kindest people. Everything else is a blur but we will never, ever forget the time we spent at Fair Havens.”
"It's very unfortunate that death and suffering are inevitable, and there's nothing worse than watching someone you love suffer and having to let them go. What's even worse is not being able to do anything about it, but that's where the hospice comes in. It tries to lessen the suffering and make someone who has reached the end of life as comfortable as possible."
"Without Fair Havens I don't know what we would have done. The hospice was filled with love and warmth and made such a heart-breaking few weeks that bit easier for us as a family. Without a doubt there needs to be a new hospice to help future families in their times of need, just like they helped us. How could you deny them that?”