Lauren Davis was 16 when her mum Shelley died. Lauren shares how St Helena helped them to make memories together and how it's ok not to be ok.
I’m Lauren and I’m 17.
Life was actually going quite well and then this bomb hit and um we got thrown in the deep end.
It all started in 2016 and my mum was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. My mum was 45. So it was a massive shock.
I have two younger brothers and we all started counselling at the same time and that was just to sort of talk about everything, and I think I was… I didn’t quite understand it when Mum first got diagnosed. I could come here and I could cry, I could scream, I could swear and tell everyone that my world’s a mess and it would be fine.
I described our situation as this massive ongoing rollercoaster but it wasn’t a very nice one. I was constantly a sitting duck waiting for the next drop to happen and I feel like that really bugged me because I hated it and I don’t think I would’ve coped as well if I didn’t have the Hospice’s support because honestly I was a mess. I was a massive mess because I couldn’t deal with it. I was so angry and to be able to go through all that anger and actually get to the bottom of it.
So the first few weeks of counselling I’d just cry. I’d just be so upset and so angry, I’d just cry. I’m quite a strong person, and to sit here and admit I’m not ok was a massive thing for me.
It’s really hard to explain but I just went into this mode of ok let’s try to spend as much time with my mum as possible, and the Hospice let us do that. The bereavement support that I was having, I still had it, but towards the end I had nothing to talk about because my mum was dying and that was the worst thing that could ever ever happen to me. And I feel like losing a parent is the worst thing, especially at my age where I’ve got so much longer in my life and my mum was my best friend, my only friend, and I think coming to terms with that was the hardest thing like she’s not going to be here anymore.
It’s just this ticking time bomb so like you’re trying to pack so much in, spending time with her, like, I painted her nails and stuff like that. My dog, he’s this little Pomeranian and he’s so yappy, so so yappy, but he spent the night like, the main thing was that he spent the night and he got to spend that time with my mum because him and my mum had a great relationship I know it’s a dog but it’s man’s best friend so. And even though he’d yap as soon as someone came in the door to check Mum or anything like that, they never had a problem with it and I feel like because we got to spend that quality time with my mum being able to do that is, it is just so lovely and the memories I’ve built here, oh my god, I’m so lucky.
I feel like sometimes kids go forgotten in this whole thing because they’re so focussed on the parent so sometimes the kids get forgotten but here they don’t. You become important to the people here and you do become a part of the Hospice.
I thought that I was going to be ok and I was like ‘yeah, no, a year’s passed’ and I had to actually be sat down and go ‘no Lauren, you’re not ok, and that it’s ok not to be ok, and it’s ok to go to the doctor’s and tell them that you’re not ok because you don’t have to be brave all the time, you really don’t have to be brave all of the time and I feel like people need to know that and that people here going through it now although I generally feel deeply saddened when I see… like I came in here like six or seven months after my mum had passed away and there was a little girl and a little boy coming for counselling, I was just sat there, one of their parents or their grandparents are going through the same thing and all I wanted to do was just grab them and give them a big hug and go it’s going to be ok, look at me I may not be perfect but no one is. I feel like that’s the main thing, you’re going to be alright, you’re never going to be the same because a massive hole in your heart is forever going to be there but you’ve got the memories.
Some people don’t have a mum, a lovely mum for 60 years, I’ve had an amazing mum for 16 and that’s what I’ve taken away from that. Sometimes I don’t look at it like that. Sometimes I hate the world and I think it’s so unfair. My mum was 45 and she had her whole life ahead of her.
If she could see my brothers now. I am so proud of them and my dad, like, I know that he struggles and I know it’s so hard for him but he does a brilliant job, he does, he really does do an incredible job. To go from my mum constantly being there to support him with it, he’s now having to be mum and dad and I take my hat off to him to do that because me and my brothers are pains in the asses, we really are, we are, and to have the support from the Hospice, they’re amazing and I honestly I don’t know what I’d do without them.
We offer bereavement support to children and young people, either individually or including their parent/guardian and siblings. If you would like to refer your child or your family as a group please call us on 01206 848 163 and ask for the Family Support Team. Young people can refer themselves if competent to do so.
To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email email@example.com , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360
SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.
To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU
Telephone: 01206 845 566
You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 845 566
Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222
You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 848 163
Fax: 01206 752 245
You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222
Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU
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If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360
To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560
For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397
To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.
Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566