When Frank Deccico’s wife, Shirley, was diagnosed with lung cancer, Frank believed she would get better. Even when Shirley was admitted to the inpatient unit at Mountbatten in January of this year, Frank thought she would return home.

“I didn’t want to believe how serious it was,” said Frank from Southampton. “I kept thinking she would come home, but it wasn’t to be.”

Shirley spent ten days at the inpatient unit before she died. “The level of care was unbelievable. It just blew me away,” recalls Frank.

“Our anniversary was coming up, and the staff put on a little do for us. They put balloons up, and we had a buffet. It was really lovely.

“But even with me, they couldn’t do enough.

“While Shirley was ill, I had counselling with Mountbatten to help me cope with the fact she was dying.”

Frank struggled with his counselling sessions because he could not talk about Shirley.

However, while visiting the hospice building for his weekly appointment, Frank came across the Mountbatten social group for people living with grief and life-limiting illnesses, who meet on a Wednesday.

“I just started talking to them and realised many of them were going through similar things to me. So, I came along every week, and that was it. I was hooked.

“The staff supporting the group are amazing, just wonderful. I know I’ve got help if I need it. And they check in on me regularly.

“Being part of the group and coming up here every week means I don’t feel as lonely. We have a laugh and share our experiences.”

A typical week for Frank now involves multiple trips to the Hazel Centre at our building in West End to join the gardening club and take part in various activities, including a quiz and arts and crafts.

“We probably do more chatting and drinking tea,” says Frank with a smile.

Before his wife’s illness, Frank knew about Mountbatten but, as he says, never appreciated how important the care would become to him and to others who use the services.

“You just can’t put it into words the care and attention people receive here. From the nurses to the people on reception to the cleaners who sweep the floors. It’s incredible.”

“I could never repay the kindness showed to me and my wife. It means so much to me to know Mountbatten was there for her and continues to be there for me, too.”

Anyone can access Mountbatten’s free bereavement support no matter where or when the death of a loved one took place.  

Sometimes it can help to talk to someone who is independent and trained to listen to and support you through your grief. Mountbatten's expert Clinical Psychologists and counsellors offer individual and group support, depending on your own wishes and needs.

You can ask your GP to refer you to this service or contact us on 02382 548 840.

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