This Christmas, Fiona Hickey will once again be remembering her late mum in our special Light Up a Life appeal.
Fiona has been dedicating a light in memory of Natalie Hickey, since she died of ovarian cancer in September 2013. It’s become an important tradition for the Hickey family each year, helping Fiona feel her mum is still part of their Christmas.
Mum was everything to me
“Christmas was always special in our house. Mum and I used to make the Christmas cake and wrap presents together. My dad used to bring the tree in, and my mum and I used to decorate it.
“Mum was everything to me. She was a lovely lady, very sociable and very popular. It's lovely when people talk about her now even though it's nine years since she passed away.”
Natalie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010. She was in hospital when she and her family were told there was nothing more they could do, and the cancer had spread too far.
It was always mum’s wish to stay at home, our family home, when the end came. So, between myself, my dad and Danielle, we looked after her.
We were struggling
“Towards the end, it got harder. We were struggling because somebody had to be with her at night. She had a bed in a downstairs room, and she couldn't be left on her own, because she would want to get out of bed or do something.
“Between my daughter and I, we were literally sleeping on the floor next to mum because we couldn't fit another bed in the room. We were all exhausted.”
Fiona sought help from Treetops and Hospice at Home nurses came to help care for Natalie at night.
I describe the Treetops nurse who came to us as ‘an angel on earth’. She just made so much difference. I knew I was leaving mum in capable, safe hands and it just meant we could all relax, have a good night’s sleep, and be fresh the next day.
The nurses were so special
“The nurses were so special. They would just come in, so calm and capable, and they just sort of quietly took over. And you’d just think, ‘ah, yes, I can relax now’, which was lovely.
“I always remember the day before she passed away. The nurse who came helped me give mum a bed bath. We put her in a clean nightie, and it just felt so right to me that she was like that when she actually passed away.
“In the end, mum died at home peacefully. We were all with her. If a death can be nice, it couldn't have been in a better place with better people.
We fulfilled our promise to keep mum at home and we couldn’t have done that without Treetops Hospice.”
Dedicate a light to remember your loved one
“We do Light Up a Life every year since mum died. I just think it's such a lovely way to include somebody that you've lost in a family celebration at Christmas.
“By dedicating a light, you're remembering that person, and you're also giving something towards helping somebody else.”
Proceeds from dedications go towards helping us care for patients and families in the local community.
- A dedication donation of £10 could pay for a coffee, cake and chat at one of our community drop-in sessions
- A dedication donation of £24 helps to provide two hours of Hospice at Home nursing care
- A dedication donation of £67 could help fund an emergency home visit from one of our Treetops nurses
Light Up a Life Remembrance Ceremony
A special outdoor Light Up a Life Remembrance Ceremony will take place at Treetops Hospice on Sunday 4 December. The ceremony is free to attend.