When Ray, from Hastings, was diagnosed with brain, lung and kidney cancer just 4 weeks ago, Pat, his long term partner of over 30 years, popped the question and asked Ray to marry her; “When I proposed, Ray had tears running down his cheeks all day” comment Pat. “We wanted to focus on something positive and to give us hope and not give up. As Ray’s diagnosis was terminal we had decided against chemotherapy. Ray played a huge part of my children’s life and was extremely close to all my grandchildren, so it was an obvious choice that Ray would ask my two grandsons to be his best men. They couldn’t believe it when Ray asked them and they felt very proud to be by his side.
Looking back it’s hard to believe so much has happened in such a short space of time. Originally we had planned to get married in our garden at home but unfortunately Ray’s health took a turn for the worse and following the help from the Hospice at Home team, Ray was admitted as an in-patient at the Hospice. It’s hard to believe we’re here, just last week we were sitting outside drinking coffee in a local café, then a week later we were in such a different place; to be honest every day is so different and we are taking one day at a time. I was so, so worried about Ray being admitted to the Hospice, but now he’s here it’s wonderful, just fabulous! Ray’s health was going downhill rapidly so we brought the wedding day forward and decided to get married at the Hospice in Ray’s room. When Ray was at the Conquest Hospital, we had spoken to the Chaplain about our wedding and we were delighted that he was able to carry out the service at the Hospice, alongside 25 of Ray’s closest family and friends. On the day with everyone’s help and encouragement from the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, chaplain team at the Hospice and Hospital, Ray was able to open his eyes, say his vows and even called me Mrs Walton. There was no way the wedding could have gone ahead without the brilliant support of my family and the team.” Said Pat.
“The wedding was very emotional, but it has given mum peace and gave Ray hope. On the day we laughed and cried, now everything feels much calmer. We feel we have fulfilled Ray’s wishes, which is very comforting and we are now able to face the final part of Ray’s journey” comments Jackie, Pat’s daughter.
Sadly Ray died at the Hospice 4 days after the wedding and just four weeks after his diagnosis. We would like to thank Pat and her family for allowing us to share their story.