"The Mountbatten bereavement group has given me a purpose to want to live."

Lynne and I were married for 48 years. She was a beautiful person. You think you are going to grow old together, but someone has to go first. 

I didn't shed a tear for a month after she died. I was practical, planning her funeral and sorting all the paperwork. After consoling friends and family at the funeral, I was the only person not to cry.

Crying came later when neighbours would ask, "How are you?" and I would say "Oh, I'm fine", but then shut the door to our home behind me and burst into tears. 

A few months after Lynne died, I got a letter in the post inviting me to join a bereavement group at Mountbatten. I thought it would be a room full of people sitting in a circle and not for me. I sat down and thought, "Oh, blow it, I'm going."

It felt like home; I was with people who could relate to what I was saying. In the group you can be who you are, and not the person outside. 

In the counselling room, some people don't want to talk, and they don't have to. There are others who talk a lot more, and I was one of those! 

One day a line came to me, and I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote it down. Suddenly, my feelings flowed out of me, and I wrote my first poem. I have since written over 80 poems, capturing how I feel about Lynne, my grief, and Mountbatten. 

"I tell people if they are dying to die under the care of Mountbatten because you could not die in a better way."

Lynne was the type of person who never complained and always wanted to help other people. Even when she was facing cancer, she would spin around a conversation to check that those she loved were okay. 

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and after four and half years of treatment, she was given the all clear. 

Two months later, she was told she had bone cancer, which later progressed to her skull. 

Despite not wanting to, she battled through more rounds of treatment, as the cancer was affecting her facial features. 

Lynne was in the inpatient unit at the hospice for five weeks before she died. Initially admitted for an assessment, Lynne quickly felt more secure surrounded by Mountbatten staff. 

Doctors who speak to the patient like a human being and nurses who take pride in their work and care about the person's welfare.

After three weeks of being there, Lynne told me to ask those friends and family to stop praying for her because she had to die. 

I spent four days and nights at Lynne's bedside; she died at 11:45 pm on Friday, 15 July 2022. 

I felt relief that she had died and she is now at peace. 

An angel on earth, now an an angel in heaven. 

"My wife and I were childhood sweethearts."

We met on the dance floor in Derby on a Saturday night, and she was dancing around her handbag with her friend. 

We quickly ended up spending all our time with each other. I think you know when you've found the right one. 

I came to Light up a Life at the hospice the first year after Lynne died. 

I felt a warmth and closeness by coming to Light up a Life. I was a part of something, surrounded by people with the same purpose: to remember someone you loved.

During the service, the names of our loved ones were displayed on a screen. Seeing Lynne's name was a moving moment. It is poignant for everyone there. 

Christmas is a time of year when you are thinking about those you love the most. This year, I will dedicate a light to my wife, Lynne. 

Dedicate a light

Christmas donation