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"In January 2023, my Dad, Paul, was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. By the time he went to the doctors, he was told it had already spread to his liver and stomach. The doctors told him if he didn't have a stent fitted, he had only two weeks to live. 

This was a massive shock to Dad and our whole family. You expect to be told months or years, not weeks. 

Dad had the stent fitted and was given a new prognosis of 15 weeks. He didn't want to have chemotherapy. He wanted to spend time with his loved ones, to go on holidays making memories and spend as much time at home as he could. 

Dad always wanted to feed a lion; it was a lifelong wish of his. During the last weeks of his life, the family went to the Isle of Wight for a holiday. Whilst there, Dad got to fulfil his wish and fed a while lion!

He chose quality of life over quantity of life. 

When at home, Dad had care from the Mountbatten Community nurses. He always wanted to keep his dignity, so Mum, my wife, Helen and I did a lot of his personal care ourselves. The nurses would come in and care for Dad, helping him to stay at home with us. 

When Dad decided to come to Mountbatten, our family knew this would be the end and that Dad had accepted this. Before our family got there to visit, the nurses had helped him to put clean clothes on, have a shave and tidy his hair. He looked like him, he looked nice. 

Even till the end, Dad didn't really like doctors but the staff at Mountbatten would talk with him on his level. We went out of the room, and they talked to him about his wishes. They would sit comfortably with him on the floor or on his bed. 

The doctors told us the truth but in a kind way and there was no stiffness. It was just personal and friendly. 

Dad died on 13 June 2023. 

Dad was a huge Saint's fan, and we would go to the football matches together. He was a hands-on dad and would make things in the garden or take us to the pub after he finished work for a glass of coke and packet of crisps. 

Dad had a red and white funeral in honour of his favourite football team, and the family wore the new Saint's strip whilst he was carried in to "Oh when the Saints". 

The next month we came to the Remembering with Ribbons event. There were 12 of our close family, and we were all scared beforehand as we didn't know how we would react but were there to support each other. 

My four-year-old niece Ava came with us, and we wanted to help her because it's so hard to explain that Grandad isn't coming back. 

We all relaxed, listening to the choir and the words that were read. We sat at the back and sobbed, but we didn't want to leave, we could have sat there all day. 

Dad isn't here anymore, and we don't really need to come back to Mountbatten, but I often come and sit in the Hazel Centre. 

I would encourage anyone who is nervous about coming to Remembering with Ribbon's to do it, honestly, do it. There will be people there in the same position and the staff will understand how you are feeling" share's Kim, 34 from Shirley Warren. 

To attend our Remembering with Ribbons event on Sunday 14 July at 1pm, please RSVP using the button below. 

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