John and Celia’s Lights of Love Journey began in 2022, four years after Vanessa, John’s wife and Celia’s mum, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Here, they tell us why they find Lights of Love such a special time of year and reflect on the time Vanessa spent at the Hospice before she died.
“I first visited the Hospice in 2019 when mum began attending the physiotherapy sessions and the Wellbeing group. I can remember sitting in the car with her before her first session feeling scared and unsure. Mum said we should have been going shopping instead! I associated a Hospice with dying and death however, I didn’t need to feel like that because going in felt like walking into a calming sanctuary, a hug.
“This support continued during mum’s last month of her life. Mum was so relieved to be offered a room on the In-Patient Unit, she felt safe with the professionals around her. It also meant dad and I could spend quality time with her, rather than worrying about medication and making sure she was comfortable.
“We first attended Lights of Love at the Hospice in 2022, over two years after mum passed away. I wanted to go in 2020 but COVID-19 happened. I went with my 11 and 8 year old children and dad. Members of the Hospice team greeted us and made us feel welcome and comfortable. I liked that we were told the format of the event, so we knew what to expect. Lighting a candle to remember mum was a special part of the event for me. My favourite part though, was putting our star on the Lights of Love tree in the garden. We chose the tree closest to mum’s room. It was emotional but therapeutic and there was so much understanding and love, under a beautiful starry sky and full moon.” said Celia.
“There has been much sadness and tears on this journey but also moments of hope, comfort and support. Lights of Love was to me, very personal and intimate, as though the readings, poems, lighting of candles and placing stars on the tree was directed to me personally. It was a very special occasion where we all could share our bereavement, grief, sadness, and hope for the future with our family and friends.
“Lights of Love will always be a time when we can reflect on the wonderful life we shared with our loved ones.” said John.
We’d like to thank john and Celia for sharing their Hospice story with us.