THE BLOG

Lessons From The Hospice

04/07/2017 11:54

As I write this post I am sitting in a hospice.

The lady to the left of me is reading leaflets about cancer and the effects on family, the lady to the right is sobbing and discussing funeral arrangements for her mum with the sympathetic nurse.

Two days ago we made the decision to move my terminally ill husband into this hospice and get him the support he deserves.

He was diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer three and a half years ago and up until that time we have had relative normality (with a few bouts of chemotherapy and the odd craniotomy thrown in for good measure, but we have lived a full life).

About a month ago, after an amazing holiday in Turks and Caicos, Caribbean, we came home to the reality that his tumour had grown beyond the abilities of the doctors to help and we were thrust into this new stage.

Of course, I knew this would eventually come, but that never prepares you for the absoluteness of being faced with it.

Before making the decision to move Ross into a hospice, I was caring for him at home and feeling pretty useless. Being able to allow Ross to be given the care he deserves has allowed me to have some much needed quality time and be free to be his wife, not his carer.

I believe in creating your own life, in whatever way you want it to be and framing things in a way that suits the story you want, and so I want to share with you what I have learnt in my short time here.

1. People are good.

Everyone around us has been incredible and they are all so desperate to offer support and help. I am a huge believer in the good in people, but it's times like this when I am proven right. People are inherently good, people care and people want to be there for each other.

If you read too much news, you might be tricked into feeling the opposite is true, but remember, it's far easier to sell an extreme story than the every day kindness that is there all around us.

2. We must learn to let go.

Letting go is tough and when you love someone, or something, it's incredibly tough. But when you allow yourself the freedom to let go, you can finally breathe (I am aware of the irony of saying that sentence in a place where people come to die!)

No one wants to be in a hospice - it wouldn't be the choice of anyone. The situation you are currently in may not be the one you want to be in, but fighting something you can't control will cause you far more pain than trusting the journey you are on and finding peace with that.

Let go of what you think it should be and focus on the right now.

3. Life isn't black and white.

There is laughter in a hospice, there is sadness at a wedding, and you can find love at a funeral (that's actually where my brother in law met his now wife). Life is not straight forward and it's OK to be more than one emotion in a day, to be more than one type of person in a lifetime and to allow yourself that privilege. It will make your life full.

4. Time isn't everything.

My husband and I have been together a mere nine years; it seems nothing, it seems small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it's not the bigger picture.

We have had the most wonderful quality time together, we have spent most of nine years together side by side. Every single day! We are best friends and know everything about each other. We have had each other's backs and we have created two amazing little people.

The nine years have been full of love and joy and whatever we have left of that time, I know it's been great. Some people waste their time together, hate their time together, or never find someone to share their lives with and so it's not about the time, it's about the impact on your life.

5. Being negative will make you miserable.

No matter where you go, you will find people who see the world as dour and bleak. 'Those' people could win the lottery, marry the most incredible person, live in the lap of luxury and they would still find something to complain about.

In a hospice, there is often such an abundance of joy and people giving their love. There is no time in here to waste on negativity and it's just not the place for it - people literally don't have time for it.

Negativity will sap you, whether that's being negative yourself or surrounding yourself with negative people, do less of both.

Without saying the most obvious thing in the world, your life is short, fill it with good stuff. When it gets tough, fill it with extra good stuff and with extra good people.

With every stage of your life and every challenge you face, there is a lesson to be learnt and as I glance over at my very poorly husband, my heart aches, yet surrounding me are lessons and I am filled with the knowledge I will be OK.

To watch my journey with my family and hear more from me, head on over to my YouTube channel, Holly Matthews online: https://www.youtube.com/user/hollymatthewsonline

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