Karen Lamb’s Mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and spent her final weeks at the Hospice. Here, Karen shares her story about the experience she had and why she has set up a Tribute Fund.
“My Mum, Dorothy Turner, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease at the end of February 2015. After being admitted to the Western General Hospital for 10 days, she was admitted to St Columba’s Hospice.
My Mum was my best friend and my soulmate, and we loved to spend time together especially going shopping and having lunch. Mum loved going to our caravan in Jedburgh with my Dad, pottering about and spending time doing the garden. We spent time there celebrating family occasions especially Mum and Dad’s 40th wedding anniversary eight years ago where we had lots of fun.
Mum always used to say “worry about the things you can change, not the things you can’t” – I live by those words and think of Mum.
When Mum was diagnosed, we had heard of MND and knew a bit about it, but the initial diagnosis was hard to understand and digest. Mum was diagnosed promptly but her health declined quickly.
“The difference between the Hospice and the hospital was profound”
Like a lot of people in Edinburgh, we had heard about St Columba’s Hospice. When we visited the Hospice my Mum, Dad and I were all struck by the location, the grounds, the bedrooms and the sense of calmness throughout the whole Hospice.
The difference between the Hospice and the hospital was profound. The Hospice didn’t feel clinical and from day one the staff, volunteers and everyone we met was upbeat, helpful, understanding and caring.
The whole team at the Hospice took away the fear factor for my family, because everyone was so kind and talked to us so much about how my Mum was doing. The doctors explained everything to us, gave us lots of information and told us what was being done to help Mum.
My Mum got to a stage where she could only communicate with her thumbs, and all the people who cared for her were incredibly patient with her. The nurses were kind and light-hearted, using humour to keep Mum’s spirits up. When I wasn’t there at the Hospice, I knew Mum was being looked after. I never worried about her being at the Hospice.
“It was like a home from home”
We loved the room that Mum was staying in, and she enjoyed being able to sit in the chair in her room. She loved seeing and smelling the fresh flowers in her room, looking at the garden and the view over the courtyard. We all also loved how private and homely Mum’s room was. It was like a home from home and that is really important because it makes you feel so much more at ease. We were pleased to be able to bring in our own photos and items from home too. Nothing was any trouble.
Being able to visit Mum at any time of day or night was brilliant, it made visiting such a lovely experience because we were never clock-watching, and we were able to just enjoy our time together.
The chaplaincy team at the Hospice knew I was due to get married in the spring, so before Mum died we had a blessing ceremony in the Columba Room followed by afternoon tea. It was so special to be able to share that with Mum and for her to see us having the blessing. A few weeks after Mum died, I got married. It was an emotional day, even more so because I wore her wedding dress.
Mum passed away only 33 days after being diagnosed with MND. Losing my Mum was a life changing experience and it made me realise how amazing St Columba’s Hospice is.
“The perfect tribute to my wonderful Mum”
After Mum died, Pauline, one of the counselling team got in touch. I found the counselling to be of great help and was a massive support throughout the times I was struggling to understand my emotions and grief after losing Mum.
When I was visiting the Hospice I saw the stunning ceramic forget-me-not flowers in the courtyard. I found out more about the Tribute Garden and I thought it was the perfect tribute to my wonderful Mum and her character. I had been wanting to give something back to the Hospice but I wasn’t sure how, and having seen the lovely flowers I decided this was ideal as Mum loved flowers. I have opened my Tribute Fund and I will do fundraising to raise money for the Fund and the Hospice.
St Columba’s Hospice is the most amazing place I have ever experienced. All of us will lose someone we love one day and having the support and care of a place like St Columba’s Hospice has been wonderful.”
If you would like to find out more about Tribute Funds click here or call the fundraising team on 0131 551 1381.