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Rosemarie Finley’s column

Thursday 12 December 2019

Christmas time at St Barnabas HouseCEO Rosemarie Finley

My background as a nurse means that I have had the privilege of working at Christmas many times over the years. One thing that patients and their families have shown me is that when you’re living with a terminal illness, what matters most at Christmas is not the presents, but the precious moments with loved ones.

Here at St Barnabas, our amazing volunteers and dedicated teams at the hospice and in our community work tirelessly throughout the festive season to help make lasting memories for local families.

For those who are aren’t well enough to be at home, the team make sure Christmas Day is as special as possible. The hospice is filled with twinkling trees donated from local garden centres, which volunteers lovingly decorate as if they were their own. The kitchen staff prepare Christmas lunch with all the trimmings, and local businesses generously donate presents so everyone has something to open. In the morning, the multi-faith chaplaincy team hold a packed-out service which brings patients, families, staff and volunteers together.

I must share this lovely note which we received last year from a patient which read, “It was a privilege to wake up in the hospice over Christmas amongst so many dedicated people. I managed to spend time with my family and had a lovely family meal on Christmas Eve and great fun playing Articulate! Time with my family. Time with people special to me. That’s what I am focusing on now.”

As well as being a time of celebration, Christmas is also a time of reflection. A chance to think about what we all mean to each other, to live life to the full and to make the most of the time we have.