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Frank's Story

"My dad, Frank O’Rourke, was a happy and sociable individual, well loved by many including his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren. He could not do enough for others, whether it was pulling over and helping a lady who had broken down in her car or being the life and soul at work, dad was a character.

Then in 2012 everything changed. We found out that dad had bowel cancer. It was terminal. Our world was turned upside down. How would we deal with this? Our beautiful dad, husband, granddad was going to die? Whilst all of these questions were going on, we were lucky to receive a visit from an Isabel Hospice nurse, who helped with all of our questions. From then on, over the two years that my dad fought his cancer, he would attend Day Service. He said he liked having a laugh again! Then came the day when dad was very ill, and I contacted Isabel Hospice who were able to admit him. When we went to see him, I was shocked and amazed at how comfortable the room was. How kind and accommodating the staff were and most importantly how comfortable and happy my dad was as his pain was being managed and he was getting round the clock care. We had a doctor come around and she was so very kind and emphatic as she delivered the news that dad was very ill.

Dad started to deteriorate so it was time to bring in his beloved grandchildren who he had thrown in the air, run after, spoilt with sweets, taught them gardening. They loved him so much and it broke our hearts. But a nurse called Wendy sat us down and helped us explain to the children what was happening to their granddad. We made some wooden hearts and each of them wrote what they loved about granddad. Over the six days that dad was in the Hospice, dad was looked after by the staff as if he was glass. I watched as they gently lifted his arms, even when he couldn’t communicate anymore. I watched as they spoke to him even when he couldn’t answer anymore, how they put cream on his dry skin. I watched these amazing people I’d never met before treat my beautiful dad the way anyone’s last days should be. As we stayed with dad, they offered us meals and drinks, had a hairdresser do my step-mum’s hair. These things just made us feel the immense support we had at this difficult time. On Nov 11th 2014 I was in the kitchen at the Hospice as my step-mum sat with dad who at that moment slipped away around 11pm. We called our family, and when we returned to the room to dad the lovely staff had put all those wooden hearts the grandchildren had wrote around dads head. I can't thank the Hospice enough. All those special people will never know how grateful we are. They allowed Dad to die with dignity and with no pain."

Emma Cooper