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Claire’s story

It was beautiful the way he tucked his blanket under his chin and just went to sleep. There was no pain.

“Everyone deserves to die like that, in comfort and with dignity just the way my dad did, thanks to the wonderful team at Cransley Hospice – I can’t explain how much they helped us.”

Claire’s beloved dad, Bryan Betts passed away peacefully at Cransley Hospice just nine months after he had received the devastating diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Bryan Betts was Claire’s number one hero, and she courageously shares how the care and compassion from the hospice team enabled him to die in the best way possible, surrounded by lots of love and his family.

As the younger of two sisters, Claire worshipped her dad, and being at his bedside when he passed away is her final, precious memory of him.

“Dad was a family man through and through, Mum, me and my sister Alison, and his five grandsons, Sonny, Jack, Elliot, Connor and Luke were his world. He was so protective of all of us.

“When Dad was first diagnosed he found it hard to open up. He just wanted to protect us and when we would ask him how he was, he would just say he was ‘fine’.

“Theresa, the specialist palliative care nurse, would sit and talk to him – she had a special way of saying things and helped him come to terms with it himself. She helped Mum, Dad and the wider family so much. I can’t put into words the difference that they made.

“They knew when to be there and when to leave us alone.

“The day before Dad died, he was just going into the hospice for an outpatients appointment. But he was very unwell. When he went through those doors it was as if he felt a huge relief. Helen, the Doctor assured him they would get his pain under control.

“He was only there the night. We were all there to say goodbye and he just peacefully went to sleep surrounded by the love of his family. It was beautiful the way he tucked his blanket under his chin and just went to sleep. There was no pain.

“Dad was a young 75 year old, always joking and laughing with the boys – they called him Grandy. Not long before he died he had been sat on a chair in the garden painting the fence so that Mum wouldn’t have to do it after he had gone. He was so brave and thoughtful, and stubborn. I remember in the March we had a family afternoon tea party. He hadn’t been eating much but he sat and ate all of it – for the family.”

Those final moments of peace, and seeing her dad surrounded by the love of his family have given Claire much comfort as she grieves the loss of her hero.

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