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The person Claire will be remembering is her Mum, Cath who was a patient at the Hospice in 2006 where she passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Claire recalls: “The Hospice was such a blessing as my Dad didn’t accept Mum’s illness and my younger brothers both lived away in Manchester. The Hospice staff took all my fears and worries off my shoulders which meant I could just be there for her knowing she felt safe and we could enjoy our final weeks together.”

“The atmosphere in the Hospice was not gloomy and sad at all and the staff did everything they could to help Mum have a good death and be happy which definitely helped with the healing process for our family. In fact, the staff even held a goodbye party for us where we got all the family and Mum’s friends together at the Hospice. One of my everlasting memories of that time is watching Mum and Dad having a little dance. I used to sleep over some nights and often I’d be given a bacon sandwich in the morning by the staff. I also had bereavement counselling provided by the Hospice afterwards which was so beneficial to me”

Memories are incredibly important to Claire, particularly as she’s now a mother of two boys who were born after her Mum died: “Mum passed away before social media and mobile phone cameras had really taken off so if you wanted to take a picture you had to use a camera with film and get the photos processed so it wasn’t as easy then to take so many photos. My Mum always had the habit of ducking out of photos so I’ve got so many pictures of birthday parties, Christmases and family holidays and Mum’s not in any of them. So one of the things that I now, as a Mum, make sure I do even if I don’t feel great, is I still jump in the picture because one day that’s all you’ll be to your children, a picture in a frame.”

“My Mum was the closest person in my life. She was my best friend, she was my everything. She used to ring me in the evening to find out what I’d had for dinner and ring me in the morning to make sure I was up for work and then all of a sudden she wasn’t there. When the worst possible thing that could happen in your life happens it gives you such a pragmatic attitude to life as everything else just becomes insignificant. I don’t ‘sweat the small stuff’ and worry about little things anymore as it’s just not worth it.”

“Now I can talk about Mum without crying I want to do my bit to help the Hospice and give something back by telling my story and volunteering so more vital money can be raised to help patients like Mum. The Hospice took away any uncertainty about what was happening, they handled everything and looked after us all so well so I now have a lifetime of love and memories to look back on which means the world to me.”

Join Claire in lighting up the life of someone you will never forget

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