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21st February 2024 Latest News

A mum’s heartfelt letter

Carmel Johnson1

“Last year my daughter Carmel passed away at Laurel Hospice after a long, difficult and painful journey of seven years.

What she had to endure over those years has made the grief journey almost unbearable for all of us, family and friends. When my daughter got into hospice care after a difficult time in the main hospital at Flinders Medical Centre, she landed in a safe place.

The reason I’m writing this letter to you is to let you know how much comfort this care helped me and my family through this journey.

Carmel loved visits from Nolton Park Horses Healing Hearts.

While my daughter was in the hospice for six long weeks, the volunteers led by Jodie were there for us from the outset to the end. They helped Carmel with anything she needed and were able to provide her with comfort care massages and much more. The art therapists were also amazing at helping Carmel at the end of her life.

Jodie, via complementary care, provided massages for me throughout the time that I was with my daughter, and also allowed me to express my grief. They listened carefully to me with no judgement and with much tenderness and kindness.

After my daughter‘s death, I was allowed to have several more massages fortnightly for a few months. Each time I had a massage, Jodie was there to let me share my grief journey. The volunteers that massaged me listened to me, helped me with soothing music, and having the human touch, I believe this helped me so much more than anything I could have achieved through grief counselling.

I would also like to commend the doctors and nurses that looked after Carmel so lovingly and without judgement. The doctor that looked after Carmel was Emma, and she listened to Carmel carefully, and did everything that she could to make the end of her life comfortable and according to Carmel’s wishes, as well as helping her to feel safe.

The nurses were lovely, kind and gentle, very professional and never rushing Carmel. As an ex-nurse myself their standards were high. This allowed me to step back from nursing my daughter and allowed me to be her Mum, as I was confident in the care she was receiving. The nurses also supported me by giving me an ear and an occasional hug when I needed it.

Hospice is so important and so amazing and so much of a critical need in the community. Medicine often falls short and people die and deserve to have a kind and gentle death at the end of their life.

Please continue this amazing part of your foundation, and please ensure that there is enough funding, especially as our medical system fails us. This becomes even more important.

I have made a couple of donations and the last one I requested be given to complementary care at Laurel Hospice.

I’m willing to assist with any information regarding Carmel’s journey through palliative care that can help other young women through this journey.

Thank you for your good work.”