Christmas is a special time. It’s a time to share with those we love and reminisce about Christmases we spent with loved ones that sadly are no longer with us. At Southern Area Hospice we know how difficult that can be for many families, we understand how important it is for us to take time to remember. Joining the Hospice to remember a loved one this year is the McGovern Family from Newry. 

Barbara McGovern

The McGovern Family, Ballyholland

Our story.

“Our mummy, Barbara McGovern spent her time raising 4 children and walking the roads of Ballyholland in Newry every day with our dog, Molly (who could arguably be described as the 5th child!) She would walk every day, talking to everyone as she went along. Mummy was the most outgoing, friendly and bubbly person, the life and soul of every party. She was glamorous by nature and would never be seen without her lipstick and sunglasses on, regardless of the weather! She was a real people person who loved to travel the world, seeing new places and making sure to bring her sense of humour everywhere she went. 

Mummy was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of July 2017 aged just 55. She was young and healthy, so this was a huge shock for all of us as a family. The plan was to start chemotherapy but unfortunately things progressed very quickly, and she was taken into hospital with pneumonia a few weeks later. We were told that her cancer had progressed and that the next option would be palliative care. The Hospice was offered to us on Monday 25th September and only 2 days later, we moved mummy to the Southern Area Hospice. 

In the two weeks we spent at Southern Area Hospice the care and support we all received was outstanding. During the toughest time of our lives, we took comfort in the fact that mummy was being looked after so well by such a wonderful team. We were all made to feel at home - whether it was a cup of tea in the middle of the night or a shoulder to cry on when times got tough, we were always guaranteed that someone would be there. We saw such a change in mummy from the moment she arrived, she was comfortable, content and happy. The family room available in the Hospice was great to have as well, it gave us all a chance to take a breather from time to time, and to meet other families going through the same situation. All in all, mummy was diagnosed less than 11 weeks before she lost her battle with cancer on Wednesday 11th October 2017.

There are no words to describe how fantastic the support and care you receive from the Southern Area Hospice is. Every member of the team from the receptionists, healthcare assistants, kitchen staff, nurses and doctors take the time to look after everyone who comes through the door. We will always attempt to give back to the Hospice by fundraising so others can avail of the services we did but we will never be able to repay the staff for what they gave us in our time of need as the services are truly invaluable. We will never forget the time we spent in the Hospice with mummy, for all the right reasons.”

Online Ceremony

Unfortunately, Southern Area Hospice Services cannot have their usual Christmas illumination ceremonies this year, instead they have a very special online ceremony planned, including the switch on of the beautiful Christmas tree, this will stream on Facebook at 7pm on Thursday 10th December. Southern Area Hospice would love it if you could hold this night special and join them virtually, perhaps light your own candles and be with them as they switch on their tree and remember loved ones this Christmas. 

You can dedicate a light on the Light Up A Life tree by visiting our website or by calling us on 028 3026 7711 to donate by phone. By dedicating a light on the Southern Area Hospice Christmas tree, you are helping the Hospice to continue providing essential care to their patients and support to families not just at Christmas but every day of the year.

Although it’s sad to reminisce on Christmases we knew, 

I’ll dedicate a light this year in memory of you.

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