Making a loving mum’s last wish come true

Lynette’s last wish

It was Lynette Ball’s dearest wish to witness her son, Stuart, marry his partner, Amy. But with a terminal diagnosis and Lynette’s health deteriorating rapidly, time was running short.

That’s when the St Luke’s nursing team caring for the 60-year-old mother and grandmother at her home on Plymouth’s Barbican pulled out all the stops to make her dream come true.

“Mum was adamant that she wanted us to be married, settle down and be happy,” said Stuart. “And we wanted her to be there at our wedding.”

Amy added: “Stuart and I grew up together. His mum always stood by me and helped me through difficult times. She was my rock.”

Within a few hours our team had rallied round to create the closest they could to an actual marriage – a beautiful ceremony of commitment for the couple at Lynette’s bedside. They quickly sourced everything needed for the occasion last May.

  • St Luke’s Drake shop helped Amy pick out a wedding dress, shoes and necklace, all lent for the day.
  • A spread of celebration food was lovingly prepared by the catering team at our specialist unit at Turnchapel.
  • Wedding rings were loaned by Drake’s jewellers in Plymouth city centre, long-time supporters of St Luke’s.
  • Senior health care assistant Selina prepared and conducted the blessing of love, and the whole team worked wonders with flowers.

Thank you

“We have so much respect for everything they did for Mum and us,” said Amy. “We want to say a big thank you to them all.

“I didn’t expect the ceremony to be pulled together so quickly. What they did was amazing. One of the nurses even did my hair and make-up and Kadie lent me the veil from her wedding. There were lovely balloons and a big one with feathers inside that Mum really loved. We kept it in the room with her, and we’ve saved some of the feathers.

“For a few days before the ceremony Mum hadn’t been talking. But as I walked in wearing my wedding dress, she spoke to me. Then, after we’d said, ‘I do’, Mum said, ‘I need to sign the register’. Nurse Debbie quickly found something she could sign, and she really believed she had put her signature as a witness on our wedding certificate. That was so important to her.”

Specialist care at home

Lynette died a few days later in her own home, just as she’d wished, with Amy holding her hand. Her death was a huge blow for the couple who, after seven years together, had finally got engaged on holiday in Turkey only weeks earlier.

Sadly the happy announcement Lynette had been longing for was quickly followed by the news that she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“She was in hospital for a couple of weeks, and we’d started planning the wedding together and set a date, but then it became clear she wasn’t going to make it.”

Lynette was referred to the St Luke’s team at Derriford and it came as a huge relief when they arranged for her to receive specialist care at home.

“She wanted to go home, and we wanted her there too. St Luke’s got it all sorted. I couldn’t fault them; they were amazing.”

Stuart added: “Obviously we wanted to keep Mum’s dignity as much as we could, and we did that with the help of St Luke’s. They were there regularly and always at the end of the phone when we needed them.

“When you are going through hard times like we are, there are always ups and downs. And the downs were made a darn site easier because of St Luke’s help.”

Making precious memories

The couple were officially married in June last year, with Amy wearing the same dress she had borrowed for the home ceremony.

“I went back and bought it from the shop and wore it to our wedding. It made me feel like Mum was with us.”

At St Luke’s our compassionate end of life care goes above and beyond medical treatment. We do our best to help our patients and their families make precious memories together that can be treasured for years to come.

Stuart and Amy will never forget their special day, pledging their love and commitment to one another in front of Lynette. The mementoes they have kept from the occasion not only help them feel close to her; they are also reminders of the respectful care Lynette received from St Luke’s in her final weeks and the team who went over and above to make her dearest wish come true.

Memories in Bloom

St Luke’s specialist end of life care teams have a holistic approach meaning they do all they can to help patients live as well as possible in their final months, weeks or days. An important part of that is encouraging and enabling them to make happy memories with family and close friends that can be treasured in years to come.

Memories in Bloom gives you the chance to donate and dedicate by sharing your own happy memories of a loved one and help us to continue caring for those in need of our support. Flowers are symbols of love, hope, healing and renewal, a fitting tribute to your loved ones and their memories.

As a thank-you for your generosity, we’ll send you a St Luke’s Memories in Bloom poem card embedded with real flower seeds, ready to plant and care for at home in honour of the people who will always hold a special place in your heart.

Click here to leave your dedication.

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