For May, nothing quite says home like a cup of tea in her favourite china cup and saucer. So when she first came to stay at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, it was the personal touches that made her feel like she was being cared for at a home from home.

From enjoying her favourite folk records to spending quality time with loved ones, May explains how it was the little things that made a big difference – and why she’s now in control of living once more.

Before I came to Birmingham St Mary’s, I was scared. I thought I was going to die – I really did – and so I had pretty much given up on living. I have a heart condition and at the time, I thought I had no hope and no way of enjoying life.

So, when my doctor first suggested Birmingham St Mary’s, I didn’t feel very optimistic. I thought a hospice was just a place where people go to die – somewhere that once you went, you never left again.

Of course, I couldn’t have been more wrong. From the moment I arrived, I was astounded at how positive and cheerful the Hospice was. I couldn’t believe how lovely the doctors, nurses and volunteers were – everyone just seemed to go above and beyond in their care and support.

One of the things that amazed me most though, was how much time the staff spent with me and my family. They really got to know me, from my likes and dislikes to my favourite musicians and how I liked to have my hair styled. They even took the time to get to know my family, making sure they were comfortable and kept up-to-date with any progress.

I hadn’t been staying at the Hospice for very long before my private room was filled with photos of the people I love and the CDs of artists and bands that I adored. The staff even took the time to learn how I take my tea – milky, no sugar – and made sure they served it in my favourite china cup and saucer. It may sound trivial but it really is the little things that you notice most. Being able to wake up and enjoy a cuppa just the way I like it really does make the Hospice feel more like home.    

But whilst the small touches have made a big difference, my favourite achievement is that I finally feel in control of my illness. I’ve regained my independence and after hearing the news that my symptoms have stabilised and that I’ll be leaving soon, I feel confident that I will be able to support myself. I’m now looking forward to my future and can’t wait to spend quality time with my family, friends and loved ones.  

With thanks to Birmingham St Mary’s, I no longer want to die – I want to live – and the Hospice is helping me to do just that.

Every day, Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice cares for 400 people – like May – who are living with life-limiting illness. To find out how the Hospice could care for you or a loved one, read about our different services here.