Caring for Sally at Christmas

Marion’s sister Sally was cared for by Martlets in 2017. She died on Boxing Day on the inpatient unit and Marion was by her side. Here, Marion tells us how the team at Martlets made Christmas feel special even though Sally was nearing the end of her life.

“My sister Sally had cancer and before coming into the Hospice she received amazing care at home from Martlets’ nurses. They helped her with pain relief and were always there at the end of the phone if we needed them.

Three days before Christmas, Sally was really poorly. The nurses said it was time for her to go into the Hospice, as that’s where she wanted to be at the end.

‘I’ll never forget the amazing care that Martlets gave us that Christmas. On Christmas Day it could have been awful given how ill Sally was, but somehow they made Christmas feel special for us.’

I felt so well cared for from the moment I went in to see Sally. As well as caring for her they cared for me. I was able to stay overnight in her room for several days until she died. The medical staff were marvelous and went through exactly what would happen during Sally’s last days. It was reassuring to have that understanding of what to expect.

Staff dress up for Christmas caring for Sally

All the staff were wonderful – they dressed up in costumes on Christmas Day, there was a big raffle, everywhere was decorated beautifully, and a lovely dog came in too with tinsel around its neck. Sally was able to reach out and touch the dog which was a comfort for her. It was such a difficult time with so many different emotions, but somehow Martlets did everything they could to make it better. Sally and I were given a three-course Christmas meal. Although Sally was so ill, she at least managed to eat the prawn cocktail starter which she really enjoyed. Usually, I have to cook at Christmas, so it was so lovely to have it done for me in these circumstances. All these small things made it feel that bit easier to cope with.

dog licking sally

‘On Boxing Day our whole family gets together, and we always raise a glass to Sally.’

After Sally died Martlets offered us amazing aftercare. They made sure we knew how to manage everything from finances to the funeral. I was also offered bereavement counselling which I didn’t take up, as I think people grieve in different ways. I still feel connected to Martlets and so positive about the experience I went through with them. The Martlets newsletter is something I enjoy getting and hearing about the exciting plans for the new building. Sally would be pleased to know that many more people in Brighton & Hove will get the same amazing care we did thanks to these new facilities and Martlets’ wonderful staff. Thank you to everyone who cared for us and to everyone who keeps on caring, especially at Christmas time.”

Could you help keep Martlets keep caring this Christmas? Donate here. You’ll be helping more local people like Marion and Sally access the essential hospice care they need.

At Martlets we know how important it is at this special time of year to come together to remember who and what makes life so precious. We invite you to share your memories of your loved ones on our festive dedication page.


Published 02/12/2023