When Myra Johnson’s husband David was readmitted to the Rowans Hospice for end-of-life care, he told her he wasn’t frightened – he knew it was a place where he’d be looked after and cared for. Here Myra kindly shares her story, which shows how Rowans Hospice offers support to patients with life-limiting illness and carers throughout every stage of their journey and into bereavement.
I met my husband David when I was 17 and he was 19 and we were married a few years later.
We were very happy together and shared a lot of love and laughter throughout our marriage and have two lovely children, two grown-up grandchildren and a great-grandson.
David was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer on May 6, 2016. He was admitted to the Rowans Hospice for respite care just after this.
One of the doctors came to speak to us on the first day and after he had finished discussing David and all of his care needs, he asked me how I was as he knew that I had been in hospital.
At that point, I really felt that this was a place where people are special, everybody cares and they looked after both of us.
During David’s respite care, we received a grant to provide equipment at home which would make the house much more accessible for him. His medication was completely reviewed and his health improved noticeably.
David was able to come home and he was feeling so well that we went to visit our daughter for a fortnight’s break.
During this time we celebrated our 59th wedding anniversary and David gave me a card that he had made in day care. Following our break, he attended day care once a week, where continued to particularly enjoy the craft sessions.
Later that year, David was readmitted to the hospice for end-of-life care. He told me he wasn’t frightened – he knew that this was a place where he would be looked after and cared for.
He had visits from the day care team and everyone he came in to contact with, from the housekeeping team to the chefs who would cook him whatever he wanted, made us both feel better.
He was treated with humour and compassion by all of the nurses and we were never made to feel like we were too much trouble whenever we had to press the emergency call buzzer.
David died the week before our grand-daughter’s wedding. Although it was hard for all of us, we still went ahead with the service and had a wonderful day.
A few days before, I was able to give Lauren a card that David had made especially for her wedding. That was a very special, but emotional, moment for us all.
I attended the bereavement group following David’s death and met three other ladies there. We are all different ages but have really bonded – we meet once a month at tea rooms and talk on the phone or text regularly.
I am still having moments where I feel depressed and miss David very much – we had been together for so much of our lives and I feel his loss greatly. But I am trying to keep positive and look for new experiences to look forward to and enjoy. Experiences like abseiling the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which I did with my son Trevor in 2017 to raise money for the hospice.
The people who work and volunteer at the Rowans are truly wonderful and I have always been treated with good humour and compassion.
You can ensure that your local hospice can continue to provide outstanding care for people with life-limiting illness and their families and carers by pledging to do one thing for the hospice’s Silver Jubilee Appeal, maybe even an abseil like Myra.
Together we can build hospice care fit for the future.