Remembering my incredible Mum this Christmas Billy shares his favourite festive memories of his Mum, Ann, and why he’ll be letting her memories shine this Christmas at our Light up a Life event. It’s been six months since I lost my Mum, Ann, to lung cancer. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about her but as we begin to come to terms with her loss, my family and I now face our first Christmas without her. Seeing Mum’s cancer return was heart-breaking It was only a few years ago when Mum was first diagnosed with lung cancer. She battled through it and I’ll never forget how relieved the whole family felt when she was given the all clear. But that relief soon turned to sadness when, in October 2017, we found out the cancer had returned. We were completely heartbroken and didn’t want to see her go through all that treatment again. When Mum started having radiotherapy it was tough because I knew it was the worst time for her. But it was also upsetting because I never knew if she would pull through this time. My family and I were caring for Mum at home but as her condition started to deteriorate, we knew that we needed extra support. ‘Fantastic’ doesn’t begin to describe the care at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice That’s when we were put in touch with Birmingham St Mary’s. We were hesitant at first but it turned out to be the best decision we ever made. Soon enough, Mum had settled into her own private room at the Hospice and we cannot begin to describe the care and support she received. The nurses and doctors were just so attentive. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they always had the time to talk to us and see how we were doing. It wasn’t just Mum they looked after either – the Hospice was there for the whole family. Although we were sad knowing we were close to losing Mum, we were also relieved to see how comfortable and at peace she was. When the phone rang in the early hours one Friday morning, I just knew. Mum didn’t have much time left to go. My brother and I rushed to the Hospice to be by her side. I’ll always be grateful for that call from the Hospice, so that I could spend those last precious moments with her. It was 4am when my Mum peacefully passed away. By taking part in Light up a Life, Mum’s memory will be shining bright As Christmas approaches, I just know it’s not going to be the same without Mum. She always made it so special – cooking a wonderful meal and bringing the whole family together. Mum’s favourite part of Christmas was watching the grandchildren open their presents on Christmas morning. It made her so happy and it’s hard to believe I’ll no longer be able to look across and see that joy on her face. That’s why my family are taking part in Light up a Life – to let Mum’s memories shine this Christmas Thanks to the generous donations made at Light up a Life and other fundraising events, more families, like mine, can receive expert care and support when they find themselves going through the most difficult of times. This year, my family and I will be celebrating my wonderful Mum at Light up a Life. I hope you can join the celebration too and show your kind support to Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice. Thank you Billy for sharing your story with us. It will cost £22,000 to run the Hospice’s vital services this Christmas Day, so generous donations made at Light up a Life will make sure that even more local people and their families get the support they need over the festive season and beyond. If you've been inspired by Billy and would like to share your story to help others understand what a hospice is really like, please email us using [email protected] - thank you.