Dying Matters Week: Enid’s story
During Dying Matters week we are featuring stories of some of our patients to illustrate the themes of the campaign. Today’s theme is grieving, and we bring you Enid’s story.
When Enid’s husband Ernest became ill with vascular dementia, Enid channelled all her energy into caring for him, eventually becoming his full time carer. After he died in April last year, she suddenly realised how exhausted she had become.
“I’d been a 24-hour carer for at least two years,” said Enid, 86. “Caring for someone all the time is like being on a treadmill you can’t get off. It was very stressful, especially in the night. I was so busy doing everything I didn’t realise I was neglecting myself.
“A couple of months after he died I hit a brick wall.”
Although she has a large family (three daughters, two sons and a foster daughter, plus 12 grandchildren), she was unable to express her grief in front of family members because she felt she had to be strong for them.
“Ernest was a lovely dad and when he died my children all felt it as much as I did. They all really miss him. I couldn’t say how I felt on difficult days because they were having their own difficult days,” she added.
Enid came to a bereavement event at the hospice, where she learnt more about the support on offer and realised she needed counselling. She signed up for weekly sessions with a bereavement counsellor.
“It has really helped to have someone unrelated to talk to where there was no pressure to keep everything in. Counselling was the answer, I’d recommend it to anyone.” she said.
Enid has also taken part in remembrance events at the hospice including Light up a Life at Christmas and the recent Forget-Me-Not day.
“The hospice is such a lovely peaceful place. It’s such a comfortable atmosphere here and the support here is wonderful.”
On Easter Sunday, exactly a year after Ernest died, Enid and her family all got together to scatter his ashes at Wollaton Park. “We chose a tree with lots of branches because it represented our family,” she added, then went home for a meal, laughter and tears.”