Children’s Hospice Week takes place annually in support of the unique range of services organisations such as ellenor can offer to young people. This covers everything from a full Hospice at Home service providing oncology, palliative care and end of life care for children facing life-limiting illnesses, to counselling for young people who have been bereaved. Here, we talk to one family to find out how the younger members in particular, were supported by ellenor following the death of their mother.
Shona Turnbull, wife of Andrew and mother of Maxwell and Lucas, was unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and passed away 18 months later in ellenor hospice, Gravesend.
Knowing ellenor could give her and her family the support they needed, Shona chose to spend her final moments with us. Maxwell was aged five when she died, Lucas eighteen months. Andrew was left not only coping with his own grief, but trying to handle the impact his wife’s death was having on the children. From the very start, the support was there.
He recalls “The afternoon Shona passed away, the Palliative Care Team had suggested that when other family members were saying a final goodbye to Shona at the hospice, the children should share this moment. At first I thought it was an utterly ridiculous idea, but on talking it through with the them, I realised it would help give the boys a sense of closure and help them understand that she wasn’t coming home. They were able to see their mum looking so peaceful, and know that she had died under the care of ellenor, looked after with full dignity and compassion.
“I realised it would help give the boys a sense of closure. For us as a family, it was the right thing to do. ellenor staff enabled us all to understand that Shona was peaceful and that she had died”