Heather Rowlands, 58, enjoyed creative writing sessions led by Chris Harris at St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing.
Tasked with writing a letter to a very special person, Heather chose to write to her husband and shared her work with the group.
When another patient said it would be a privilege to receive such a heartfelt message, it got Heather thinking and she finally decided to send the letter to her husband so he could read it while he was alive.
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Heather said: “I have endometrial cancer, a type of cancer that grows in the lining of the womb. After being told there was nothing more that could be done, I found myself very depressed.
“Getting off chemotherapy was a big thing for me and I missed being around people who understood what I was going through.
“Now, thanks to hospice, I have a new community of people to connect with and I don’t feel so alone anymore. Writing things down on paper helps me make sense of the thoughts that revolve around out of my head and I get more of an idea of what I want out of life.
“If I want to, I can read what I’ve written to other members of the group and I’ve found sharing experiences with others really helpful. The group is so supportive and we strengthen each other .”
Patients are guided through writing exercises based on a different theme each week and are free to interpret the topics as they wish.
Heather said: ‘I hope that by reading my letter others in a similar situation can find some comfort in it or think of doing something similar for a loved one.’
Hospice staff said the emotional impact of a life-limiting diagnosis can be difficult and frightening, but the care provided at St Barnabas House includes the Living Well service, helping to improve happiness and well-being patients through a wide range of activities, including creative writing.
Chris, one of the advisers, said: “It’s not about perfect grammar or learning to write a novel. It is a supportive and safe space where patients can enjoy the process and creativity of writing and perhaps find new ways to express themselves during a difficult time. in their lives.”
Heather’s letter to a very special person
You are my husband, my friend and my confidant. Somehow you have always been there for me for the past thirty years. You held me while I cried and laughed with me over the years.
Your absorbing shoulders are getting pretty soggy lately, but you still say I’m beautiful and you love me. No matter how many times I tried to push you away, you always stood firm.
I need you to accept my mortality. I will die before you, but you must be strong – the children and grandchildren will need your strength and I know they will give you theirs.
You have to find a way to always be happy, go out on your bike with your camera, cry when you need to. Ask for help if you need it, don’t be ashamed to say you can’t do it yourself.
I will stay with you in your heart and only want the best for you. If you find love again, take it, just remember what we had. I will always be grateful for the life we shared. I hope you and the children have happy and fun lives and remember that my love surrounds you all like a blanket, I always hug you all and surround you all with love.