Dr Tony Michael's Story

During Christmas in 2008, Janette Michael was determined to have her family around her.

Nine years previously, she had fought breast cancer and got on with her busy life.

But now doctors said there was secondary cancer, an inoperable tumour near her stomach.

Janette put up another brave fight, but by December 2008, knew time was not on her side.

She rushed around organising festivities for her grown up children, her husband Dr Tony Michael, who has a PhD in material science, and the rest of the family.

“She wanted a family Christmas. She put all her energies into planning it, decorating the tree and deciding what presents to buy.

“She put everything else to the back of her mind. But I knew why she was making a fuss. She was convinced that Christmas was going to be her last.”

It was.

In July 2009 Janette, a well known local businesswoman, was admitted to the in-patient unit at St Elizabeth Hospice.

“She told me not to worry.  She didn’t want to be a burden and she said the hospice was a lovely place and everyone there was looking after her,” said Dr Michael.

The doctors and nurses made sure she was in as little pain as possible but she just wanted to sleep.

“I didn’t think she was going to die just then, but I got the phone call saying her breathing had changed and I should come up. I called the family, and the vicar came and said prayers.”

Janette died on July 27th 2009. She was just 53.

“Whilst Janette was at the hospice everyone there was so caring, nothing was too much trouble for the staff and volunteers. It is a world where people know what your problem is, but they make it easier for you to be there because they are always so welcoming and always there to help.”

“That Saturday night before she died was the first time I had seen her lying there peacefully and not in pain. She was happy there.”

Sign up to receive monthly updates

Share your story