After Sarah Gregory’s mum, Shirley Sharp, was cared for at Pilgrims Hospice Thanet in 2014, the family now dedicate a sunflower in her memory as part of the charity’s Sunflower Memories campaign. Here, Sarah shares how this helps them to gather together and remember Shirley in a place that brings them comfort.
My mum was a very sociable person who lived for her family. She loved her four grandchildren beyond measure, always the fun grandma who told stories and showered them with affection and home-cooked food. By profession, she was a cook at St Bartholomew’s School in Sittingbourne where she used to cook old classics like bacon roly poly and gypsy tart!
Mum enjoyed visiting the day hospice, chatting with others going through the same experiences as her, and creating special memory boxes for the grandchildren. She always felt completely safe at Pilgrims and became visibly more relaxed.
I always think of donating to the hospice for Sunflower Memories as an alternative to being able to buy Mum presents, whilst giving something back so that Pilgrims can be there for more people who need them.
When mum was admitted to Pilgrims as an inpatient, we regularly visited her along with the children, who always felt comfortable going in to see her. They would usually say hello to their grandma then go off to look for the hospice cat, Claudia, whilst we took Mum out into the beautiful hospice gardens. The hospice was always such an open and honest place for us all to be and no one ever felt scared or fearful; everyone managed to put us at ease, from the volunteers on reception to the nurses and doctors. Even the food was delicious and the chef would often make whatever Mum requested.
Pilgrims gave Mum a purpose to her life near the end; she would have gone to the day centre every day if she could. As soon as you walk in the door of the hospice it feels like you are encompassed by a big invisible hug and that even the worst scenarios could be dealt with.
Although we will never be able to repay the hospice for the amazing care they gave us all as a family, I always think of donating to the hospice for Sunflower Memories as an alternative to being able to buy Mum presents, whilst giving something back so that Pilgrims can be there for more people who need them.
Sunflower Memories is such a lovely event to attend as a family, an opportunity to remember Mum together, and for the children who really enjoy seeing Mum’s name on the sunflower plaque in the hospice gardens. The day provides us with a special time to think about Mum at a place that brings us all comfort, and we’re looking forward to dedicating our plaque again this year.
Sunflower Memories events will take place at our hospices in July 2019:
- Canterbury, Saturday 27 July, 11am – 1pm
- Thanet, Saturday 27 July, 2pm – 4pm
- Ashford, Sunday 28 July, 2pm – 4pm