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Family Centre for a family man: this is Greg’s story

15 July 2018

For Greg, family was everything. So when he came to Birmingham St Mary’s, it was important to him that he had a private space where he could spend time with the people he loved. Here, his wife Alison explains how the ‘Harry Moseley Family Centre’ did just that…

Greg was such a family man – he loved his family and friends so much. He was our ‘foundation stone’ – the person we always relied upon and who would put others before himself.

For Greg, nothing made him happier then when he was surrounded by his friends and family. I have so many happy memories of us going on big family holidays with everyone. Our friends used to joke that he was part of the ‘SPS’ – the ‘Special Parents Service’ – as he’d be the one who was up at the crack of dawn, preparing 11 cooked breakfasts and overcoming the classic hurdles of “No beans for me”, “I do want beans” and “Can I have a waffle please”.

That’s why, when Greg came to Birmingham St Mary’s, it was so comforting to know that he and the family had our own private space in the Family Centre. When Greg’s illness started to get worse, our three girls and I just wanted to get him home. But Greg was adamant – he wanted to go to the hospice. That was Greg for you though, he was always in control of his illness and making decisions from day one. Looking back however, I’m so glad we went to the hospice when we did.

When Greg first came to Birmingham St Mary’s, it was an incredibly difficult time for our family but the doctors and nurses made us feel so welcome. They really did go above and beyond in their care and support. We were so grateful to have use of the Family Centre, which was our own private apartment with a kitchen, living room and bedroom. Greg was a very private man, so it was reassuring to know that we had somewhere just for us.

It may sound strange but we made some really good memories in that room – not just sad ones. Greg absolutely adored his grandson Lenny and so it was lovely that the two of them were able to see each other every day. Lenny – who was two-years-old at the time – had just learned a new nursery song and would come in singing it loudly. He really did lift everyone’s spirits up, so it was nice that we had a space where he could just be himself.

There was also that time when the hospice brought the Shetland pony in – Greg thought it was absolutely hilarious, with its big bum banging into things around the room. And then there was the evening when one of Greg’s closest friends, Derek, came round with some beers for them to share. I know it meant a lot to both of them to be able to spend that time together and enjoy the things they would normally do.

One thing that was really important to me was that the nurses and doctors always respected Greg’s, and our family’s, wishes. It didn’t matter how poorly Greg got, it was always Greg they addressed. I know that would have made Greg feel more in control, which was so crucial to us all.

It was that kindness and compassion that made my family want to give back to the hospice. That’s why we’ve done a few events for Birmingham St Mary’s now – from the Chocolate 5k to the Enchanted Midsummer Walk – as it’s our way of giving back. We always have such a fun time and as long as people keep supporting us, we’ll keep on taking part.

Greg was such as active man too – he was so fun-loving and had a great sense of adventure – so it’s good to know that we’re doing something he would have loved. He was so supportive of the care and treatment from the hospice too and I know he would be proud to see us getting involved.

Thank you Alison for sharing your story with us. To find out more about our services at the hospice, please take a read here. Or, if you want to find more about our events, why not take a look here?