Catherine’s Story

Catherine's Story

The hospice was there for Catherine’s family when both her dad and mum needed care, but it was in 2023 when Catherine found herself accepting hospice support as a loved one. Here, she shares her story. 

“My first experience with the hospice was in 1995 when my dad passed away in the old Poolstock building. We received so much support from the team there and we have never forgotten Wigan & Leigh Hospice.

Sadly, in recent years my mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer and in summer 2023 she took a turn for the worst, bringing us back in contact with the hospice team twenty-eight years later.”

Being a carer

“Before sadly passing away in December 2023, mum had a short stay at the hospice before carrying on her life in a nursing home which we found with help from the hospice team, who pointed us in the right direction.

As my mum’s carer, they asked me separately if I needed any support, which I thought was amazing. At the time I didn’t realise I needed much support, as I was so caught up in my mum’s prognosis that I unknowingly neglected my own needs. The situation had started to take its toll and I began feeling anxious and quite emotional. It felt like I was grieving even though my mum was still alive.

I wasn’t sleeping very well, only four hours a night and I felt completely exhausted and anxious. One day, I received a call from someone at the hospice informing me that even though my mum was no longer at the hospice, I was still entitled to their support if I needed it.”

Accepting hospice support

“I was always under the impression that the only support they could provide was with bereavement, but that wasn’t the case. I learned about their complementary therapies and counselling services and accepted their offer.

It was when I was speaking to Sophia during one of our complementary therapy sessions that I broke down, not realising how much everything had been affecting me. Afterwards, she asked if I had thought about counselling. Funnily enough, I had spoken to my GP about this the day before but there was a three-month waiting list with the NHS. Luckily, the hospice managed to arrange a session for me the week after.

At counselling, they don’t tell you what to do they just listen and give you the tools to help you cope and think about things in a different way.

After going to counselling for a few weeks, I started to notice that my sleep pattern had improved and eventually returned to normal. I am now sleeping six to seven hours a night.

The support I have been given at the hospice has helped me to come to terms with what was happening with mum and finding peace with the situation. I know that the door is always open for me to go back if I need further support.

I think it’s an amazing service and hope that anybody else who finds themselves struggling takes up their offers of support.”

This story was published March 2024