Since her illness, and before receiving Compassionate Companion visits, life for Margaret could be summed up in one word: “Boring.”
She’s “cheated death” at least once but now is practically housebound. Her loving husband, Norman, takes great care of her, but for Margaret: “It’s a blessing that Janet comes over – to have someone to talk to and see her smile”.
Margaret can’t be left alone and looking after someone can be hard at times. Janet’s visits allow Norman to take a break – to go shopping, run errands, or just to sit with a cup of tea and join in the conversation.
Visits bring a lot of joking and reminiscing. Margaret and Norman have excitement in their voices as they talk about the past, of things they are proud of and enjoyed, like the times they went dancing, or Norman’s military career. Or how they met at a swimming pool on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, if Margaret needs to be quiet, Janet’s company is enough.
Margaret looks forward to Janet’s visits so much, she’ll ask Norman: “Is it Tuesday yet?”
“She sheds years off when I’m there, as she talks about what they used to do”, says Janet. “Margaret’s always smiling when I leave – and if she’s happy, then I’m happy.”
Compassionate Companions receive full training through Pilgrims Hospice, before starting as volunteers in the community. Janet wishes she’d started volunteering years earlier.
“This is such a worthwhile program which people deserve at the end of life. I’m there for them both.”