I wish you knew how much comfort, guidance and support I would get from EACH, while my grandson received care at Milton. It’s not something I expected, as a grandparent, but to benefit from the kindness, knowledge, help and wisdom of so many incredible people was an absolute blessing. I’ll forever be grateful. George was only three at the time he was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, in May 2022. He had surgery that summer and then proton beam therapy. Neither were successful and George took his last breath at the age of four, at Milton, on October 14, 2023.
As a grandparent, it was devastating. You don’t expect to outlive your children, let alone your grandchildren, and to lose my gorgeous grandson, while also seeing my daughter and son-in-law suffering, was heart-breaking. I felt a failure, because in my mind, it should be my job to shield and protect them both, to be the strength they needed. However, the team walked them gently to that end and continue to share their professional advice and support with kindness and care.
What I didn’t expect was the support I personally received from EACH. I was in complete shock (and still am, to be honest) but will never forget the way I was welcomed and looked after. In my head, I felt I was taking up the care team’s valuable time - I should be able to cope and they should be with other children and parents instead. However, I was always reassured I should never feel that way and definitely wasn’t intruding.
It was such a relief to have someone to talk to. They give me the help and confidence I needed and, as a grandparent, I was wrapped in the arms of so much care and support. We couldn’t have been in better hands and I don’t know how I’d have coped otherwise.
I knew support would be there at the very end, because I understand what the word ‘hospice’ entails. What I didn’t appreciate, though, was the level of support we’d get along the way and I wish people knew that a children’s hospice isn’t somewhere to be scared of. In fact, Milton became a happy place for George. It was his playground and we created some happy, special and cherished memories. As a grandparent, I was made to feel relevant and having so much help, guidance and support equipped me to do my best for our family, during such a traumatic time.
Ellen Best, George’s grandma (crazy, happy ‘Grandma Duck’)