I was married to Ian for 43 years. It would have been 47 years this year. We have 4 children together, and at Christmas our traditions included the whole family getting together. We’d go to Mass in the morning, open presents after the meal and evening games. Usually playing the game ‘Four Kings,’ which I often won!
Ian was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and came to the hospice just after Christmas in 2016. I had never been to a hospice before Ian was there. I didn’t really know what to expect.
You knew when you came in to the hospice that the nurses and the doctors were on Ian’s side. You knew that they cared for him when you weren’t there as much as they cared for him when you were.
Being at the hospice meant we could come together and have family time together, making memories.
I remember a slide show that we had by Ian’s bedside in the ward. All the immediate family were there, as well as Ian’s cousins who came along. It was a special time at the hospice and Ian enjoyed himself, reminiscing about his childhood. I also remember one time sat on his knee, hugging him by his bedside. He also gave me a rose on Valentine’s Day and wrote a poem for me, which I say every day.
After Ian died, I was supported by St Ann’s through counselling, along with my two sons. Over the years we’ve also received personal letters of support for our fundraising efforts as a family. At the beginning of lockdown, it was challenging and seemed strange not leaving the house at all. My family were concerned for my safety. I ended up spending a lot of time in the garden, and I started walking around the garden daily. That’s where the idea to take part in the Manchester Virtual Walk came from, completing 24 laps of my back garden a day for 10 days. I was sent a t-shirt in the post and was supported throughout my challenge from the fundraising team. I also received my first ever medal for completing the challenge!
For me, Light up a Life reminds me of his passing and I remember him fondly. We had a good life together. It means a lot to see his name in the Book of Honour.
Janice and her son, Greg, at a Light up a Life service.