Penny Rhodes: 27.12.1947 - 05.11.2021

Penny enjoyed travelling and getting out, seeing and meeting people. Even in those pandemic days, when permitted, we would walk together hand-in-hand around the village on a daily basis. For 48 years we journeyed together.

So, when after all those years together a big black cloud suddenly appeared on a brain scan and our lives and, in answer to the question, we were told, “weeks, not months”, it seemed perfectly logical for us to say we wanted to be at home for that time. Logic doesn’t really enter into it as no one really has any idea what is involved unless they have experienced it.

You can cling to a pretence of normality but you need assistance. The Hospice at Home team gently began to assist in caring for Penny. One of the team, upon seeing Penny upset, knelt by the bed and, holding her hand, assured her that they would be with her on the journey she was on and they certainly kept that promise, offering care in every sense of the word and support for her, myself and our children when they were able to be there. Penny was cared for with expertise, compassion and friendliness with consideration for her dignity and femininity.

It was clear that the Hospice team would accompany all those in their care on their journey with no differentiation between standard class and business class. There are no ‘upgrades’ - every one of their patients is treated as first class.

In the very early hours of one morning before Penny’s journey ended, she woke and said to me, “I don’t understand what’s happening. I feel as if I’m walking down the wrong road. I want to walk down the road with you.” Of course, those words will stay with me - amongst many happy memories of journeys shared and with gratitude for those from the Hospice who briefly travelled with us.

And yes, of course, Penny continues to walk down the road with me and with our children and grandchildren wherever their paths take them.

For Light up a Life this year, Eric Rhodes will be remembering his Penny, who was supported by our Hospice at Home team in 2021. You can support Light up a Life here