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Lea’s story

18 October 2022

“Grief is just love. And for me and Lea – there was nothing but love.”

When we found out that my husband Lea’s cancer had spread in March 2020, one week before lockdown, we were distraught. That lockdown became a gift to us. There were no outside distractions – just the four of us, at home in our special haven. It was what we needed to process what was happening.

Lea took everything in his stride – as he always did – and built a music room at the top of our garden for him and the boys to jam in. The three of them, as their band ‘Wooden Dog’, recorded their first album! We had so much fun – every day together – it felt like nothing could get into our secluded little world.

When Lea’s symptoms got progressively worse, it became clear that he wasn’t going to get better. He was determined to pass away peacefully at home – the place where we’d created so many wonderful memories. With The Hospice Charity Partnership’s support and guidance, he was able to do just that.

Throughout Lea’s cancer journey, Rachel, one of the charity’s community clinical nurses, was a constant source of invaluable support and care, both in person and at the end of the phone. She was incredible. Straight away, she just got Lea, and he always looked forward to her visits. She became such a good friend to the whole family.

What made the charity so special was how personal their care was. Lea wasn’t just ‘another number’, but a valued person. The nurses came three times a day – and always took the time and care to ensure that Lea was well looked after. They had such a lovely way with Lea, laughing and joking around with him. They tailored their care to exactly what Lea wanted – to be at home with me and the boys, making as many memories as he could in the time he had left.

When Lea was in the very final stage of life, the charity made it as smooth and comfortable as possible. The boys sat next to Lea, playing guitar for him, and the Hospice at Home Team were there for support. Lea had written a book of thoughts which we read out – it was his special way of saying goodbye. It was the most beautiful ending to Lea’s life we could have wished for.

Over the years, Lea had done a lot of fundraising events – it was a big part of his legacy. So last summer, the four of us, along with our extended family, cycled from Birmingham to London – 148 miles over four days – we raised £6000 for the charity. Lea was so grateful for everything the charity had done for him and wanted to give as much back as he could.

This year will be our first Light up a Life event. Me and the boys are looking forward to being with the wonderful staff, and other families in our community who have lost somebody. It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the charity – and of paying something forward to another family that really needs their care. It’s also our way of continuing Lea’s legacy – a light that will forever shine bright in our hearts.

— Emma, Lea’s wife