“Put this date in your diary.”
“Where and why?” I asked, looking at my busy schedule.
And that is how this whole story begins.
In that moment.
East Lancashire Hospice was then the subject of my research for the next few days. We were to take part in a fundraising initiative called the ‘Corporate Challenge’ and would compete against other local businesses to raise funds. The added incentive being the kudos of raising the most. Well, that’s what I thought at the time.
The day of the meet up and introduction arrived.
I was surprised by how lovely and welcoming
the hospice was, nestled in such a beautiful
setting and by the number of people in
attendance, obviously from all different kinds
of businesses and all different ages.
The purpose of the challenge was laid out, I mentally took notice of what needed to be done and how much of it would land on my desk (yes, I was thinking me, me and me some more). Ram – my managing director – was grinning at me, “are you on board yet?” he asked me. I nodded (of course…).
Then, the room became quiet and a lady stepped forward.
With a halting voice and immense bravery, she told us about the day she said goodbye to her best friend, her husband. We learned about a grandson who flew in from Australia desperately trying to make it in time. How she was gently and lovingly prepared for what was to come.
But most importantly…
…how the entire family was supported not only up to that terribly sad moment, but afterwards. So much so, that now, the memories are precious not traumatic.
Even more importantly, how she is now an integral part of the Hospice team, a role that obviously helped to partially fill the huge void she may have fallen into with no clear way back. Instead, she is beautiful, inside and out, strong and able to cope. Channelling her energy into helping others.
I felt humbled, selfish and a little bit heartbroken for her and for me, I’d lost my dad and wished I could have had the luxury of those precious final moments to carry with me. Suddenly my busy schedule didn’t matter anymore.
A go fund me page was launched. Ram overcame his terror of heights and leapt like a gazelle out of a plane like superman (put a fiver in the kitty for that one Ram).
I was so proud of him. Lisa, my one-time Nybble partner-in-crime who had gone on to start her own business at the start of the challenge held an event in her beautiful Lilac Tree Shop with her partner Sarah Lucas.
Thank you to all the ladies who took part and donated, and huge thanks to Lisa and Sarah. You can find their details here: https://www.facebook.com/lilactreevintage/
So many people donated, we thank you all from our hearts.
My heart has been taken, and so you will now see lots of news about the hospice interspersed with my blog posts. Please support them if you are from the region. They are totally reliant on our help, yours and mine. I think sometimes we get immune to the hardships of life but need to remember the things that really matter.
My thought as I end this piece is this…
After losing my dad, my priest said to me that there are only two questions that are important at the end:
“Was I loved?”
“Did I love?”
We come into this world, for the most part, loved and surrounded by family. Surely, as we say our goodbyes it should be the same?
If you would like to donate to the East Lancashire Hospice please visit: https://eastlancshospice.org.uk/community-awareness-campaign