Betty & Deryck, Vanessa’s parents
Vanessa Oakley has remembered her mum, Betty, at Trees of Love since 2004. She explains why Trees of Love has been such an important event to her and her family, for nearly 20 years.
My mum was such a kind, loving person. She was born in Hertfordshire, where she met my wonderful Dad and they married in 1947. She was a brilliant cook and talented artist. She was once told that she could “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
When Mum became ill, my Dad originally intended to care for her at home. But after a family discussion and the reassurance of a lovely hospice nurse who had helped support her at home, we knew that her referral to the hospice, was the right option for us. Mum was cared for in the Ashford hospice in the summer of 2004, and our experience was incredible. When my goddaughter visited Mum, she said “she had never been to such an amazing place.” Nothing was too much and the little things made all of the difference. From the nurses, to the volunteers on reception and the cleaners, everyone made you feel truly seen and welcome.
I feel that when the lights of the tree are turned on each year, I feel close to my Mum.
My Dad visited Mum every morning and our dogs, Topsey and Tommy came along too! On one occasion Mum shared stories with a volunteer, and the next time she saw her, she had painted a picture of our dogs and gifted it to her. Everyone at Pilgrims has time for you, they truly care, and that made all of the difference.
We found out about Trees of Love through our continued connection with the hospice, after Mum had passed in the August of 2004. We’ve been supporting Trees of Love for 19 years and will continue to do so. It is such a special way to remember her, and recognise the amazing work that Pilgrims does, each year. I feel that when the lights of the tree are turned on each year, I feel close to my Mum.
Usually, we would attend the service at the Ashford hospice, but this year myself and all of the family will attend one of the satellite services, so we can all be together to remember Mum at such a special time of year.
If you would like to dedicate a dove and take part in this year’s Trees Of Love appeal, visit: Trees Of Love