23rd September 2020

John’s story

Jane was born in December 1966 in Cornwall but spent most of her life in Woking. This beautiful and intelligent woman, much loved wife to me mother to Calum, Oliver and Maddy, sister to Mark and daughter to Bridget was also an incredibly caring midwife for St Peter's Hospital for the last 25 years.

In September 2019 Jane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after spending a few weeks in St Peter's Hospital we were fortunate to be able to transfer her to a room at Woking Hospice where a change in her care plan, relaxed visiting hours phenomenal care and a beautifully spacious room were made available to us.

Although our plan was to continue caring for Jane at home this was not possible and after only three rounds of chemotherapy the cancer continued to grow with side effects causing a great deal of discomfort. Throughout this time the hospice made every effort to maker these treatments as bearable as possible.

We spent Christmas in the hospice and this was a very special time for our family, her room ended up looking more like Santa's  Grotto than a clinical room. During this time we were also aware of the Light up a Life Services and we saw the in the café the Memory Tree filled with dedications. It reminded us that we were not alone.

A few days later we celebrated Jane's birthday, a difficult time made special by the loving care so freely given by the staff and by January it was apparent that Jane would not be coming home, this was when we realised the reality of our situation.

Prior to this we had considered renewing our marriage vows for our 30th wedding anniversary in 2022. We decided to bring this forward and on the 8th February at Woking URC, accompanied by friends and family, we celebrated this special occasion. Looking back the timing of this was perfect due to Jane's illness and the beginning of COVID 19. The hospice staff were fantastic and made every effort in assisting her. On 21st March, a bright Spring day Jane's fight ended and she passed peacefully away.

Pancreatic cancer is a desperate disease and the pain Jane was in meant she needed much larger amounts of morphine. The side effects were further complicated as Jane was also an insulin dependant diabetic. The staff took everything in their stride not only giving individual care to Jane, but also to myself, children and family and we were fortunate to be able to visit any time of the day or night.

After becoming more reliant on assistance which she wasn't good at asking for, we decided I should stay at the hospice with Jane and a bed was put in the room for me. Spending a little under 6 weeks with Jane allowed me to be with her as she quickly deteriorated. I have many fond memories of these weeks, getting to know staff really well and I cannot thank them enough for the care they gave Jane, the children and myself.

With Jane's death happening at the start of COVID 19 pandemic the new strict government guidance and restrictions on funerals came into force. This meant we had an intimate funeral and plan at a later date to have a memorial service for Jane.

Jane had so many work colleagues and friends who were unable to attend her funeral but many sent messages and videos of themselves taking a moment to be silent and also celebrating her life.

We set up and personalised an Everlasting Tribute page through the Hospice's website. We found it to be a good way of connecting to all of the people Jane knew and everyone was able to leave messages plus make a donation in her memory.

We also wanted to mark her memory by having a leaf engraved on the beautiful Tree of Life in the Retreat Garden. we have such a strong connection to the hospice, they not only cared for Jane but all of her friends and family.

"It is a place full of life and light due to the dedication of the staff".

Find out about Light up a Life services here.