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Liz’s story

Shared by her husband, Myles.

“Home is where the heart is”, but for Liz, my wife, our garden was where hers was!

Liz and I were married for 31 wonderful years. Initially, Liz was a social worker and latterly a Child and Family Therapist working in a variety of GP practices in Oxfordshire – a kind, caring person who was loved and well-respected. To everyone who knew her, she shone.

Liz loved our garden. It was a tranquil space that she had designed herself, and she was at her happiest there. It was an important place for her; indeed, it was an important part of her and it was one of the things that kept her going during her illness.

Liz had spent time in and out of hospitals across Oxfordshire throughout her illness. While she received excellent care during her stays in hospital, she found the noise and disruption of the busy wards challenging. At the time, visiting restrictions were still in place due to coronavirus. We understood why it had to be this way, but we both found it hard to be apart after over 30 wonderful years of marriage; those 50 precious minutes that we were able to spend together each day simply weren’t enough. I even considered putting up a tent in the hospital grounds just to be able to be that bit nearer to her!

Myles and Liz at home

When Liz’s health rapidly declined in April 2022, our family home was the place that she wanted to be in. Her bed was positioned at the door leading out onto the garden, so that she could have the breeze blowing on her, smell the flowers, and enjoy the garden that she had created and loved.

We were then introduced to the new team of Sobell House Home Hospice carers, who visited us four times every day. There was never the feeling of any hurry for them to go to the next appointment – if something needed to be done, they would make sure they stayed until it was completed. Even though the service had been going a very short time, I thought it was just wonderful because they didn’t just look after Liz, but they looked after me too!

It felt very natural having the carers in our home, and they very quickly became an extension to our own family. They were so gentle in the way they cared for Liz, whether it was softly brushing her hair or applying lotions to her skin. The carers would even gently wipe the sleep from her eyes. There was an intimacy to the way they supported her, and they created an atmosphere of calm and dignity, being careful not to disturb her while she was resting. Each time they had completed their care of Liz she shone, once again.

Perhaps to other people these are the bits that they might not think much of, but to me those were the moments of real care. One of the Home Hospice carers was called Gold, but they were all like gold to us! Even though Liz was unable to speak, I know that they were very precious to her, and they became precious to me too.

The Home Hospice Care team was a vital part of the bigger jigsaw during Liz’s illness. Although they were only with us for 11 days, I feel so fortunate to have had that newly formed team of carers in place for us. They certainly fulfilled Liz’s wish to be able to be in her own home when it came to the end of her life.

The commitment and care that the Sobell House Home Hospice carers gave to Liz was outstanding. What they’re doing is very important. I hope they know that they are appreciated, and that what they are doing is making a great difference to families like ours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the staff from the Sobell House Home Hospice Care team who helped us so much.