What is a hospice?
Is it a place where sadness hides in every corner?
Is it a place that no one dares to speak of? Is it a place that means our children’s lives are coming to an end?
Is it a place that’s clinical, like a hospital, so to speak?
Is it a place where laughter is foreign and happiness cannot be found?
Is it a place where whispers are heard through a string of tears?
Is it a place that forces a happy face to hide the real heartbreak?
Is it a place with busy nurses and doctors, oh and tons of specialists too?
Is it a place with ambulance bays where medics rush in and out of the place?
It may seem like a hospice is a place where sadness lives among pain, with no room for joy, laughter or fun.
While there can be a sadness there (who would want to have to avail of a hospice service for anyone they love, especially their child), there’s so much more ...
A hospice, I assure you, is much more than the place you may perceive it to be.
It is a place filled with warmth.
There is hug waiting for you, should you need a soft embrace.
There’s a listening ear, an understanding nod and a hot cup of coffee; all free of charge.
There’s colour in every corner, with smiling portraits hanging on the walls.
There are doctors and nurses dressed in anything but white; there are no doctors lab coats to give our little ones a fright.
An ambulance is a special taxi, ordered to delivery our special ones home after a stay.
Extended family can visit; there’s plenty of tea and a tour of the hospice to quieten their fears.
There’s time given to each family there; be it a shopping spree in Dundrum, a listening ear or just to hang out in the family quarters, upstairs.
Music and laughter fill the air as a clown may pop up from anywhere.
Now, it’s worth mentioning that a lot of what goes on inside a hospice -
Is done by volunteers with hearts bigger than most and hands ready to help without a fuss.
The entertainment is next to none; from family days to Superheroes week and every week in between, there’s always something going on with the team.
It’s a place where time stands still for families like mine; we get to just be and perhaps that’s the greatest bit of all.
A hospice is not scary, sad or something to be feared-it’s simply a safe place to make memories and talk through obvious fears.
I get to enjoy Ethan, laugh and play with him and when it’s time to do his medications or his self-care; I can go off and bring my other boys out to play.
There’s someone there for Ethan while we spend some time with our other boys.
But if our boys should need support there’s always an outstretched hand or a listening ear.
It’s respite, a break, a mini holiday given to families like mine to ensure we self-care.
It’s a place that leaves you in awe of the wonderful staff, volunteers, cleaners and the talented chefs.
What is a hospice, you may have wondered?
It’s a place full of laughter, support, friendships and perhaps some tears, all different types of tears; happy, sad, overwhelming, full of pride and pure love and appreciate for the kindness shown to not only us but our wonderful son, Ethan.
So, thank you Lauralynn Children's hospice for opening your doors to us and giving us time to just be a regular family.