Joshua passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by the people that love him and following the best time he could ever have had. This was down entirely to the support of Demelza.
Shortly after Joshua was born it was clear that he was unwell. He had contractures of his arms and legs and was struggling to breath. This is where Joshua’s rollercoaster life began and I was given the chance to meet, love and care for the most handsome, tough and resilient person I’d ever met.
After exhausting all available tests at hospital and due to Joshua’s declining health we were referred to Demelza Hospice Care for Children. My initial reaction was one of resistance – I had a view of a hospice as a depressing, bleak environment and I didn’t want my son there.
In spite of my resistance, my wife and I agreed to go to Demelza SEL in Eltham, South East London. As we walked in I saw one of the nurses being chased around a sofa by a boy in a powered wheelchair. He was giggling uncontrollably - the type of infectious laugh only a child can produce. From there I realised my views were simply wrong. This was a happy and fun place.
Staying at Demelza essentially gave me my family back. We were able to be together and concentrate on just loving Joshua while his care and medical need were taken care of. The last month of Joshua’s life was the best time we had together as a family. I knew his pain was being managed and we were able to play with and hold him each day. Joshua passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by the people that love him and following the best time he could ever have had. This was down entirely to the support of Demelza.
Care continued long after Joshua passed away, including music therapy for our daughter Libby. Despite what occurred at the hospice, it is still a happy place for us to visit. I owe Demelza and its staff, volunteers and supporters a debt that I will never be able to fully repay. It truly is an exceptional charity, with the most incredible people at its core. I’m glad Joshua had the chance to meet them before he died as he experienced the very best of humanity.