Rosemary was a regular runner with her daughter, when Deb suddenly developed earache. When a course of antibiotics failed to work, Deb visited A&E. She was eventually diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.
Her diagnosis was such a shock
The devastating news was a complete shock as Rosemary explained:
From her initial diagnosis, we had six weeks with Deb. It was such a shock as she was so fit and healthy. Every little goal she set herself was taken away. After she died, I was really angry, because she had had so much planned.
“Deb and I had a good relationship. She wanted to learn to run so she asked me if I’d go running with her. She completed a marathon and she even ran with the Olympic torch.”
Ken never got over their loss
Rosemary’s husband of 57 years, Ken, never recovered from their loss.
“Ken died in January last year. He had a heart problem and went downhill after Deb died. He never really got over it and ended up not wanting to live which was hard to take. We’d been together for sixty years and suddenly you’re only half a person, you’re no longer whole anymore.
It was difficult to come to terms with it all because Deb would have given anything to stay with us, whereas the old man had had enough.
“Ken didn’t want a funeral as such, he just wanted to go with nobody there, with no fuss. We knew the day he was going to be cremated but not the time. That was hard as a family, as we couldn’t really say goodbye. But it’s what he wanted.”
During a visit to the Treetops Hospice drop-in café in Derby city centre, Rosemary found out about counselling support available to her.
I came for counselling every week, however bad I was feeling
“I’d never had counselling before, so I was a bit wary. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought I’d be asked a lot of questions and find it difficult to answer. But my counsellor, Ian was a very caring and kind person and drew things out of me. I made an effort to come to the counselling session every week, however bad I was feeling.
“I didn’t want to talk to family or friends about how I was feeling. You don't want to upset them. There’s things you can’t really say because you know they’re going through the same thing. They have also lost a wife, a mum, a sister, a dad… You tend to just muddle on.
Ian helped me realise I hadn’t really had time to grieve myself, that it was put on hold. Counselling put me on a more even keel. It really helped.”
“It’s still hard and it’s never going to go away. I’ve lost a daughter and my old man.
“You go from day to day because that’s what they’d want you to do and Deb wouldn’t want me to sit and mope all the time.
“But now when I get distracted or angry, I can relate to the things I talked about with Ian.
“Without counselling, I think I would have just muddled through and carried on as best as I could.”