Poignant Saint Michael’s Light up a Life event helps families to remember loved ones
Supporter Melanie Fuller shares why she’ll be taking part this year, and why the chance to reflect on loved ones will mean more than ever to her and her family.
“My Nan and Grandad were always there for me and my brother as children. From a young age we would spend Saturday afternoons with them, usually going to Knaresborough for a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake followed by a run around the castle and (if we were lucky) a browse in Woolies to get a few sweets or a piece of new stationary. It was the highlight of my week!
” Nan was a driver in the Airforce during WW2. She drove the pilots to their planes – that’s where she learnt to drive! My memories of her are being an excellent cook, making the most delicious Sunday roasts; especially her puddings.
“Grandad joined the army at the age of 15 and was stationed in North Wales. When I was a child he was cheerful, always whistling a tune or other and delighted in hearing us sing or play instruments.
“They were there for us when we needed them, and I’ll always be grateful for the care and love they showed us.
“Saint Michael’s came into our lives when my Nan was in the last stages of her life in early 2009. James (my husband) had proposed to me on 2nd January and we excitedly went to visit Nan in hospital to show her the ring. Shortly after this she was transferred to Saint Michael’s and immediately it felt homely. Her bedroom was a beautiful grand looking room, and other than the necessary medical equipment, you would have thought she was in a grand hotel. The staff were welcoming and accommodating, and helped me wrap her up warm in her last days so we could go outside one last time and sit looking at the viaduct. She was unable to see very well by this time, but she appreciated the fresh air and the change of scenery nonetheless.
“The support the hospice offered us as a family was second to none, and this was recognised especially by my Grandad, who was extremely grateful and continued to visit Saint Michael’s on the anniversary of her death, on her birthday, and at Light Up a Life until his own frailty made it too difficult.
“Light Up A Life was such a comfort to my Grandad, and to us as a family. It gave him a time to remember and reflect, and feel near to her. He went every year that he was physically able to, always accompanied by at least one family member. He also purchased one of the beautiful lanterns, which sat pride of place in his lounge.
“Sadly my Grandad passed away in September. As such, it will now be an opportunity for us as a family remember them both. This year’s virtual event will be poignant for us, and we will be tuning in and reflecting on their lives.
” I want to say a huge thank you on behalf of us all for the comfort you brought, not only to Nan in her final days, but also to my Grandad and our family in the days, months and years that have passed since. Our grief has been made a little easier to manage with your compassion and kindness.”