Learning how to live and love

In the heart of Rowcroft’s gardens, among the vibrant blooms and tranquil greenery, can be found a devoted hospice volunteer, Di Feasby. Planting, digging, raking, weeding, Di works with a tender love and respect for the organisation that cared for her late-husband Steve at the end of his life. In this blog, Di reflects on Steve’s journey with cancer, and she shines a light on the transformative power of Rowcroft, not only as a haven for those saying goodbye to a loved one, but also as a place that helped Steve and Di to “live and love”, and where every precious moment was cherished.

A fateful day

“It was 27 July 2014, and Steve was planning a day of golf,” says Di. “Little did he know that he would end up as an inpatient at Torbay hospital that day. As he started to get ready, he felt he couldn’t get his breath, and he had a heavy feeling across his chest. Steve didn’t want any fuss; he said he was fine. But I took it upon myself to speak with our doctor who immediately called an ambulance.”

Shocking news

“On 1 August 2014, our world fell apart when we were taken into a little room at Torbay Hospital to be told Steve had a non-curable cancer. After hearing such devastating news, our three sons arrived to comfort us and to discuss possible treatments with the doctors – the answers were not what we wanted to hear. We were advised to make the coming Christmas the best possible Christmas we could. Our sons gathered Steve’s belongings then we all travelled home.”

Learning to make the most of each day

“Steve made the decision to take all available treatment so that he could achieve the best possible quality of life. And after that, we went into battle. Fortunately we had an army with us – that army being Rowcroft. Nothing was ever too much trouble and every member of staff went above and beyond for us.

“I learnt so much on my journey with Steve. We learnt how to live with cancer. I quickly realised that Rowcroft isn’t just a place people go to die. It’s a place that shows you how to live and love, and to make the most of each day. I learnt how to make special times, times to remember. This is all down to the wonderful staff here at Rowcroft. Everyone seems to have that special smile and caring manner. The amazing service and care helped us so much as a family.”

Rowcroft by our side

“Rowcroft is a wonderful place, where patients with complex life-limiting illnesses are supported, along with their loved ones and families, and treated with love, compassion, care and that wonderful smile!

“We benefited from so many different Rowcroft services. Steve was invited to attend the six week B.O.F.A (breath of fresh air) course, and his breathing greatly improved. Then there was physio in the gym, which helped Steve’s balance and his walking. And we were both very fortunate to have complementary therapy, which I found to be so wonderful – it was a little bit of ‘me’ time.

“Steve was persuaded to try art therapy. He laughed saying, “that’s not for me” but guess what – Steve soon discovered he could draw! The time he spent on his art was a time to unload his feelings and his thoughts, to find his quiet time, his heaven. It was Steve’s time.”

Taking care of the carer

“It goes without saying that Rowcroft takes care of the carer. Rowcroft has got me here today, and has given me the support and confidence to guide me through what has been a very emotional journey. I am so grateful for the care and support Rowcroft gave us and I have volunteered with the hospice ever since.”

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