Here Steven shares some special moments that people might not necessarily think of when considering hospice care.
“My Mum, Annie, was local to the Wardie Bay area and used to play as a child on the shore you can see today from the Hospice building. I grew up nearby too and have fond recollections of our neighbours, the harbour and family sailing trips. Who would have thought that this circle of life could have happened by a riverbank on the Forth.
“There are many twists and turns on a personal journey. On every visit to St Columba’s, I lived a different experience and different emotions, but the hospice staff were always there to provide care and support.
“I recently read a letter from Mum which she wrote soon after her diagnosis. She expresses how proud she was of our reaction to her news. In truth, I didn’t know where to turn when faced with the question, who is going to help us? I’m so glad we found this incredible place.
“I was inspired to tell my story when I thought about other people who might need the hospice’s help but be scared to take that step. I understand their apprehensions because I felt the same way. Then I learned that there was a whole other side to my original perception of hospice care.
“I found it to be a place where care, love and practicalities all come together. It’s a place where lovely moments create precious memories that stay with you always.”
One such memory was made when our arts service lent Steven a keyboard so that he could play for his Mum in her room.
After her shift one day, a nurse asked Steven if he would play her the Proclaimer’s song, “Sunshine on Leith”. Steven was happy to play it for her and delighted when she started singing along.
“It was wonderful to be able to play keyboards for Mum in her room. She was a big music fan who listened to the greats, like Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Music was a huge part of our relationship and connection. It says things that words can’t.
“Mum had great strength but it was always balanced with love. In the Hospice we saw her charm in action. It was lovely to see the lightness of touch from the nurses as they chatted to her and made her comfortable.
“People take strength from seeing you coming together to help us. The inspirational quality of love and care I experienced at the hospice helped me to respond to my feelings.
“Although I had lost someone precious, I gained a lot from the humanity here and I think the experience has allowed me to better care for others. I often cycle past and tip my hat to you.
“A hospice isn’t just the place that your loved one is cared for, it becomes the space where they occupied and where moments were honoured every day.”