The first time my mother met my bishop, he was wearing his pyjamas and having a fag in the garden. I should emphasise here
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.
Demand for end of life care is rising as the population grows. Combine this dynamic with a reduction in funding, patients
Christmas in Britain comes at a cold, dark time of year. At the hospice, as elsewhere, we dress the wards up to keep the cold and dark at bay, and bring as much warmth and light to those spending Christmas with us as we can.
Play is incredibly important to a child's emotional wellbeing. It is even more important for children with special needs to feel integrated into everyday society, doing the same things as their peers without judgement or limitation.
Kate's story shows just how important it is for commissioners and service-providers to do their best to help people who are approaching the end of life to stay out of hospital. They can save on costs and beds in a severely over-stretched NHS - and most importantly, they can help make it possible for dying people to be cared for in the place they want to be.
After the funeral I said good-bye to George and thanked him for sharing his memories with me. He shook my hand tightly. His eyes were filled with tears.
We really don't handle the whole issue of dying well in this country do we? It's just not something spoken about, a taboo subject. We are all going to die so why do we not make sure our wishes are clear so that whenever or wherever it happens those who are left behind know what to do.
"I have one regret," said Tokiko one day. "I wish I had written down my story. " It was surprising to hear that, because Tokiko, a survivor of The Battle of Okinawa, had lived her life without telling her past even to her son.
As a hospice music therapist I've met many people whose lives were well lived. But unfortunately, not everyone lives a fulfilled life. Even so, every dying person has something to teach the living.