Jenny describes the care given to her dad, Graham, and how the Light up a Life service has helped her by giving her the opportunity to take time to remember.

"Christmas 2012 was wonderful. My dad’s cancer was under control from Chemotherapy treatment, the x-rays showed he was in better health than he had been all year.  As a family, we were so excited and happy with the news.

"In comparison, Christmas 2013 was a very different time. My dad had died, and we were all heartbroken.

"In November 2013 I still had no idea my dear dad was dying. Whether being naive or in denial, I just could not imagine my world without him there.

Mountbatten made sure dad had all he needed.

"Monday, 18 November, my dad decided it was time to go into Mountbatten Hampshire, and they were able to accommodate him. With their support and planning, everything was in place weeks before and all of his wishes were granted.

"I remember his face, the defeated, tired look of "I've had enough", also the anguish and love on my mum's face. Bewilderment and knowledge that this was real and happening.

"My dad could look out onto a lovely garden area of the hospice, and he was comfortable, safe, pain-free and rested.

"A doctor came to chat with him, asking the normal questions date of birth, etc. Then the bombshell.

"Why are you here Graham?" asked the doctor.

"Because I want to die" replied my dad.

"I could barely breathe, barely hold back the tears. From that moment I knew I was losing my dad.

"I recall being with him as much as I could in that last week. Holding his hand, chatting and whispering, “I Love you”. All a bit of a blur.

"The hospice never objected to family and friends paying visits, night or day.  Endless cups of tea were drunk, provided in the little kitchen, where we could go for a breather. Left to come and go as we pleased but knowing that we were never alone either to ask questions or to face each day.

"On the evening of the 23 November, I got a call to come into Mountbatten as soon as possible.

"The spare bed had been removed from the bay and the curtain pulled around. There must have been a dozen chairs behind that curtain for us all placed by nursing staff. We were so very grateful.

"My dad was a kind, quiet man, no fuss was made by him, he just allowed us to be there, taking a little look at each of us before moving to the next. So very quietly.

"He died on the 24 November at 6.00 am, peacefully.

"I remember walking into the room with my mum and everything was still and he was in no more pain.

"It has taken me a long time to process all the feelings and thoughts. Still, sometimes they make no sense, no rhyme or reason to where he is, and I am guilty of looking out for him. I still cry at the drop of a hat, but that is because I love him, and that was the way it was always going to be and will be forever.

A beautiful way to remember our dad.

"My daughter suggested that we light a Christmas light for my dad at Mountbatten Hampshire.

"It worried me, maybe a bit soon, would I be able to handle going back there?

"We both got brave, the evening was beautiful, very personal to each family. It made me realise how many people die each year and how many others are left behind broken and grieving, floundering with no answers just like I had.

"Whilst watching, a lady was wheeled outside by her daughters to listen to the carols. I watched the care and love given to her, she was all wrapped up in some blankets, it reminded me of how we had been with my dad the year before.”

After the challenging last couple of years, it is more important than ever to come together to remember and take a moment to reflect on everything and everyone we have loved in our lives.

Mountbatten will be by your side this Christmas.