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St Clare helps wife grant Old Harlow husband’s dying wish

Charity / Tue 7th Oct 2014 at 09:42am

THE wife of a St Clare patient has shared her story of how her husband was able to see the book he had been working on for several years published before he died thanks to the support of our Hospice at Home team as we mark Hospice Care Week.

The incredible care Rodney Matthews and his family received in the final weeks of his life allowed his wife Claire the precious time to get his book into print before he passed away earlier this year.

To mark Hospice Care Week this week, Claire is among several St Clare supporters helping to #sharethecare to raise awareness of the range of services available to local people living with a life-limiting illness and their loved ones.

Retired teacher Rodney was a talented musician with a passion for playing the organ and had been researching and writing a book about the life and work of famous organ builder G.M Holdich.

After receiving the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in November last year, his family were determined to care for him at home in Old Harlow, but as his health deteriorated he was referred to St Clare and our new Hospice at Home team stepped in.

Claire said: “From the moment those wonderful ladies walked in, they became our saviours in two quite different ways. These wonderful St Clare nurses are professionals and they immediately went to work making sure Rodney was comfortable in his own bed and that his medication was correct. I immediately felt so relieved that Rodney was at last having the care he needed.

“Secondly, they were there for me. This was really comforting as I hadn’t realised how completely exhausted – both physically and emotionally – I was. Thanks to them, I had more time and energy, which allowed me to finish one last thing for Rodney. He so wanted to see his book published but his illness had meant he wasn’t able to assist with the proofreading and liaise with the publisher.

“I desperately wanted him to see his ‘dream’ in print but with the demand of his care I was able to spend less and less time on the book. When the St Clare nurses arrived, they gave me back some of this precious time and the strength to carry on. It was such a proud and emotional moment for us all when Rodney held his book for the first time. I’ll never forget it.”

Copies of Rodney’s book, A Reluctant Convert, will be available at an Open Day being held at the Hastingwood-based Hospice, just off junction 7 of the M11, this Saturday, with a percentage of the sales being donated to St Clare. Claire will also be speaking to BBC Radio Essex on Friday about her family’s experience as part of a series of features in collaboration with six other Essex hospices being aired during Hospice Care Week which aim to dispel some of the myths surrounding hospice care.

Clare MatthewsThe open day on Saturday from 11am to 3pm is for anyone who would like to understand a little more about St Clare and the care and services local people can access. For more information, call St Clare communications and marketing manager Karen Griffiths on 01279 773752 or email [email protected]

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