A mum has shared the devastating moment she found out her daughter had just weeks to live after suffering from an earache.
Rosemary Wright’s daughter and running partner, Deb, 52, had developed an earache, and when a course of antibiotics did not work, a trip to A&E revealed the devastating diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.
The news was a complete shock to the 79-year-old.
Mrs Wright, from Derby, told Derbyshire Live: “From her initial diagnosis, we had six weeks with Deb. It was such a shock, as she was so fit and healthy.
“Every little goal she set herself was taken away. After she died, I was really angry because she had had so much planned.”
If losing her daughter wasn’t hard enough, Mrs Wright’s husband of 57 years, Ken, never recovered from their loss and died in January last year.
Rosemary said: “He had a heart problem and went downhill after Deb died. He never really got over it and ended up not wanting to live which was hard to take.
“We’d been together for sixty years and suddenly you’re only half a person, you’re no longer whole anymore.
“It was difficult to come to terms with it all because Deb would have given anything to stay with us, whereas the old man had had enough.
“Ken didn’t want a funeral as such, he just wanted to go with nobody there, with no fuss.
“We knew the day he was going to be cremated but not the time. That was hard as a family, as we couldn’t really say goodbye. But it’s what he wanted.”
Speaking about her memories of Deb, Rosemary added: “Deb and I had a good relationship. She wanted to learn to run so she asked me if I’d go running with her. She completed a marathon and she even ran with the Olympic torch.”
After losing two of the most important people in her life, Rosemary visited a Treetops Hospice drop-in cafe in Derby city centre and learned about the counselling support available to her.
She said: “I’d never had counselling before, so I was a bit wary. I wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I thought I’d be asked a lot of questions and find it difficult to answer.
“But my counsellor, Ian, was a very caring and kind person and drew things out of me.
“I made an effort to come to the counselling session every week, however bad I was feeling.
“I didn’t want to talk to family or friends about how I was feeling.
“You don’t want to upset them and there’s things you can’t really say because you know they’re going through the same thing.
“They have also lost a wife, a mum, a sister, a dad… You tend to just muddle on.
“Ian helped me realise I hadn’t really had time to grieve myself, that it was put on hold.
“Counselling put me on a more even keel. It really helped.”
Rosemary now attends the “Tears to Laughter” group, a weekly peer support group for bereaved adults, and Tai Chi classes, at the hospice based in Risley.
“It’s still hard and it’s never going to go away. I’ve lost a daughter and my old man.
“You go from day to day because that’s what they’d want you to do and Deb wouldn’t want me to sit and mope all the time.
“But now when I get distracted or angry, I can relate to the things I talked about with Ian.
“Without counselling, I think I would have just muddled through and carried on as best as I could.”
This year, Treetops Hospice is celebrating 40 years of caring for people and their families in the local community.
For further information about Treetops services, click here or call 0115 949 1264.
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