Anne and Jill's Hospice Story

Every year St Elizabeth Hospice’s memorial event Suffolk Remembers, sees 5,000 candles displayed along Felixstowe seafront as hundreds of people gather to remember their loved ones.

Now in its eighth year, the annual event sponsored by East of England Co-op Funeral Services will once again take place on 21st June, with the hospice inviting all who have lost a friend or relative to take the opportunity to join others from across the region in remembering them.

This year at Suffolk Remembers, Anne Edmunds will be remembering her wife Jill Sly, by lighting and dedicating a candle. Jill died in August 2022 while receiving support from St Elizabeth Hospice, shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in July and having just celebrated her 69th birthday.

“By lighting candles, seeing your loved one’s name lit up makes the whole evening very personal to those we have lost,” Anne explained.

“By listening to the stories of others, the readings, the poems, enjoying the choir and the band, really helps me feel at peace with myself and go some way towards the long process of healing.

“It is lovely to feel part of something in the company of those who too, are grieving quietly.”

Annually, St Elizabeth Hospice cares for more than 4,000 patients and their families throughout East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

This care sees the independent Suffolk charity providing free services – whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice – to those living with a progressive or life-limiting illness.

“Jill was simply the love of my life,” said Anne. “After receiving her diagnosis in July, Jill spent three weeks in hospital before returning home.

“We were determined that she would be able to spend her last days in the familiar and comfortable surroundings of her own home, with the people she loved around her.

“With the help of St Elizabeth Hospice we were able to make this happen and they were brilliant in making Jill as comfortable as possible.

“On the day she came home, I rang the hospice’s 24/7 phone support line – OneCall – and within an hour two hospice nurses had come to see us. They took over Jill’s care and looked after me, as well, from that night onwards, with their compassionate care.

“Their care, kindness, sensitivity and love was exemplary, and they helped Jill be at home which was where she wanted to be.

“As well as medication and pain management, the nurses also gave Jill personal care. They used her favourite creams and perfumes to give her a sense of wellbeing, dressing her in her favourite t-shirts, brushing and washing her hair – just the real human touches, which brought a degree of normality into both our lives.

“With their kindly nature, the nurses chatted away to Jill and as they went about their work, she followed them with her eyes.

“The St Elizabeth Hospice nurses also made sure I took breaks, giving me lots of cups of tea and reassuring me. With their support, I was able to somehow find the strength to carry on being positive myself.

“The care of the St Elizabeth Hospice team really is humanity at its best. I cannot thank them enough.

“Jill will continue to live on in my heart and be part of my life forever and also will remain in the hearts of family and friends who loved her and who continue to love her and always will.”

Further information about Suffolk Remembers can be found at www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/suffolk-remembers.



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