Forever Grateful, Forever in My Heart
A Story by Nicki Everitt
Waipuna Hospice was there for my family when we needed them the most. They took care of my mum, Stella, when she was battling pancreatic cancer, and later my family when we were dealing with the grief of losing someone so special.
Mum’s journey began with a few tummy issues, which she did not think too much of. Eventually, they got worse and her pain came to a head on my wedding day in 2018.
After several months of tests, mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we received the heartbreaking news that she only had 3-6 months left to live.
Mum being mum took it all in stride; however, we were devastated. It took us longer to process and accept her condition as reality.
The first three months of mum’s journey were traumatic in terms of pain. She was in and out of the hospital and ended up getting a stoma and colostomy bag, which helped ease some of her suffering.
After that, her journey with Waipuna Hospice began. The team at Waipuna Hospice were empathetic but direct, telling us what we needed to know and listening when we needed to be heard.
Everything was about making mum more comfortable and listening to her wants and needs.
Waipuna Hospice also included our family, making sure we were aware of what was happening to mum, what to look for and what to expect in the journey.
The most significant part of the help Waipuna gave us was in the last few weeks of mum’s life.
Mum wanted to be at home surrounded by her family and loving partner Geoff. Waipuna Hospice made that possible. They visited daily, making sure mum was as comfortable as possible. The love and care they gave mum, and us, were second to none.
Mum truly believed she had lived a very fulfilling life. She particularly loved being a grandmother to her seven grandchildren and her one big sadness was that she would not be around to see her great-grandchildren.
Before mum died we made sure her final two bucket list items were ticked off. We organised for the whole family (from New Zealand and Australia) to go to Cooks Beach for a long weekend as she had never been to the Coromandel. It was a very special time. My uncle even flew mum in on a helicopter. The last item on mum’s bucket list was that she wanted some “glam” shots so that her grandchildren would remember her looking glamourous. Mum and I did this together. It was a lovely day and we made memories I will cherish forever.
Mum died in October 2018 – she was only 69.
Reflecting on her final journey, I am forever grateful for Waipuna Hospice’s help.
Everything about mum’s care was special. We were never turned away, always encouraged to reach out, and always felt like we were listened to.
The team was genuine, caring, loving, and empathetic, not just when they helped mum, but for the whole family. It felt like they became part of our family.
I used to donate to Waipuna Hospice, but after Mum’s journey, I knew more about the cause and wanted to do more to help.