Doug and Christine’s story
Chris was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. About eighteen months ago, doctors said the cancer had returned in her right lung and spine.
Our hospice at home nurses cared for Chris and supported Doug, her husband, during her last few months.
We asked Doug to share Christine’s story…
“I was proud and honoured to be asked. But my first thoughts were, what can I say which hasn’t already been said by so many grateful people? But as I thought about the last four months of my Chris’ life, especially when Rennie Grove became involved, two words stood out – timing and fun.
“Four days before Chris passed away, we were sat on the sofa together as one of the nurses wrote up her notes at my desk. She paused, looked across at Chris, walked over and knelt in front of her. Gently and calmly, she asked Chris if she was scared. Chris nodded her head to say yes.
“‘Would you like me to tell you what to expect next?’ asked the nurse.
“But Chris gently shook her head – she wasn’t ready to know yet.
The nurse carried on rubbing my wife’s knee and holding her hand for a while, before going back to her writing.
“The nurse was using a gift she’s blessed with: timing."
“A little later, after Chris had had time to reflect, the nurse tenderly explained what was going to happen over the next few days.
“It was a surreal moment, but we were both glad the nurse told us, because that night, Chris said something which I can hold on to until we meet again.
“The nurse was using a gift she’s blessed with: timing. All the nurses seem to have this natural ability to say and do exactly what’s necessary at the right time. They use this gift alongside other virtues to support families through the most painful part of life’s journey: dedication, compassion and professionalism.
“And as for using the word ‘fun’ during a family’s most sad and difficult time, I can only draw on my own and Chris’ experience.
“Up until the last few days, every meeting we had with the nurses always ended with more smiles and laughter than sadness. It was the fun that helped get us through.
“Three things have kept me going over the past few months – family and friends, the Rennie Grove nurses and carers, and a belief that one day I will be reunited with my Chris.
“We often hear of heavenly and earthly angels, and no one on this planet can deny earthly angels exist; they’ve been coming into my home for the past four months.”
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