Serenity in Stanley

Since embarking on this literary voyage, I’ve written these tales of inanity in a multitude of establishments.

Today’s offering is being penned in, or just outside, my moribund dad’s room in a West Yorkshire hospice. The circumambulating atmosphere a justapos of the distressing sight of witnessing a loved one’s suffering in the last hours of their life, along with the calming environment of care and serenity.

Opinions vary on whether choosing a hospice for your brood member’s end of life experience is appropriate. As it’s not an exact science, there is no right answer to the conundrum. That being said, from my inaugural experience of these end of life facilities, I’d personally have no qualms about recommending them as a dignified and supportive environment for this dreadful phase for both patient and family.

Although still with us, my dad hasn’t been awake for two days now, but on Friday afternoon he spoke with fondness about this calming retreat on the edge of Stanley village.

Confused due to an amalgam of his medication and inherent tiredness, he proclaimed to my spouse and I that he’d initially held reservations about coming to his final residence. However, on reflection he was glad to be there and pleased he’d bought the place……. God bless him.

I suspect Mally hasn’t recently purchased this modern residential facility with it’s serene gardens. However, if it materialises he is indeed the new owner, I’m thinking my old man maybe due a few bob in rent from the other tenants.

I’m now sitting on the patio outside of my pater’s hospice room. My views include several evergreen hebe varieties, interspersed with deciduous shrubs such as hydrangea, sedum and Japanese maple.

Now on their autumnal wain, the non-evergreen plant leaves and foliage have started winding down; their contract to provide horticultural beauty almost done for 2017.

Unlike the poor patients in this assuaging facility, they will be back in 2018 as good as new after a winter sabbatical underground.

With loved one’s being incapable of regenerating from below the soil, a similar return next year sadly isn’t possible for the grieving families. Akin to the pots of bedding plants that provide a cornucopia of colour on the walkway up to the hospice, they only get one shot above ground.

I can’t imagine a much more distressing set of circumstances in which to write a narrative. The fact I’ve done so may lead to some to opine I’m cold, callous and disrespectful. I can assure you that isn’t my intention.

I’m writing this for the purpose of attempting to provide an indication of what this end of life phase throws at patients and their families. Maybe even re-assure people who will mirror my families experience of the tranquility and calm bestowed in a hospice environment.

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