Christmas for many is a very special time, when we gather with those we love to celebrate the season together and take time to think over the happy Christmases we shared with those who are no longer with us. At Hospice we know how difficult this can be for many and how important it is to pause and take time to remember. Each Christmas our very special tree is adorned with thousands of little white lights, each one shining in memory of someone special who is lovingly remembered this Christmas time.
Joining us in remembering a loved one this Christmas are the Ellison Family and they have very kindly shared their story with us…
“My beautiful wife Maria, beloved daughter of Mary and Jim,
36 years my wife and all the while my best friend every moment of every day.
Mother to our three children, Liam Laura and Rhian, and “Fairy God Mother” to
many, many more. Christmas was very special to her and began in September! Several
years before her passing she convinced her wider family to forego Christmas
presents to each other and asked us collectively to donate the monies to the
Hospice, so that others would have the gift of care and love, that was so
typical of Maria.
A tsunami of unknown sadness changed our world forever on
12th February 2014, when following major surgery it was discovered that Maria
had cancer. A consultation in Craigavon hospital in early March confirmed her
illness and limited her gift of life. No words can express the
feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that this disease dispenses at its
In spite of her prognosis Maria in her humility sought to
fight the brave fight, for us as a family and in the belief that she would see
our daughter Laura get married that Christmas. There followed 6
months of chemo, but there was little respite and she was admitted again to
hospital in Craigavon in mid-December. On the 22nd December, following
further deterioration Maria and I decided that the comfort of the Hospice was
best for all and thankfully the Hospice team were able to facilitate our
request. I liken the Hospice to “God’s Hotel”, you won’t find it on the
Trivago website. It gives what no hotel gives, it has 24hr service, gentle
caring and softly spoken staff, nothing is ever too much bother. All this
first class care and kindness is free of charge and available to all, everyone
works to the same agenda, “Peace of body and mind” for all who stay there.
I will always remember arriving at the Hospice, on the 23rd
of December, and my daughter Laura asking Dr Morris “Please can you keep mummy alive until Saturday 27th, it’s my wedding day and it is so important for mummy
to be with us?” He duly replied “I shall do my very best” and that is exactly
what he did. Saturday arrived, a day immersed in sadness and grief, yet in
the midst of the tears God had seen fit to grant mum and daughter their wish -
Maria was happy - Laura came into her room in her wedding dress, she too was
radiant, and touched to see her mum dressed in her pink pyjamas a perfect match
to her bridesmaids, a small touch by the nurses but one which meant so much to
Laura. A concerted effort, doctors and angels had worked their
magic and created a momentary fairytale - one for which we will be forever
grateful. Maria saw our daughter married which was her greatest
wish. Maria died in Hospice the following Sunday, 4th January.
I mentioned before that Maria loved Christmas and it was in
Hospice that she spent her last one with us. As we gathered in her
bedroom that first day Laura realised that from her bed Maria could see the
wonderful Hospice Christmas tree shining in the corner of the Hospice grounds,
equally beautiful and sad. We have returned each Christmas since
her passing to the “Light Up A Life “ceremony, to that very tree. We
gather with other families just like ours to remember Maria and all those like
her who have passed through this wonderful place and are being remembered with
sincerity and love by the staff who cared for them. I encourage you
to give willingly in support of the wonderful Hospice team, sorry “the angels”
at work in “God’s Hotel”.
Liam Ellison & Family
Please join us in remembering your loved one in the most
magical and moving way – Light Up their Life this Christmas time and in doing
so you will be helping us to look after someone just like Maria and her family
not just at Christmas, but each and every day of the year.
We send you our thoughts, our thanks and our very best wishes this Christmas time.
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