26 Nov 2021 Personal Stories
Helen and Catherine Light up a life this December in memory of beloved parents, Brenda and Lewis.
This December Helen and her sister, Catherine, are set to continue the tradition of lighting up a life at this year’s event. This year, they also chose to leave a personal message on our online dedication page for parents Brenda and Lewis.
Huddersfield girls at heart, the sisters have never physically attended our events before, opting to leave a message on our dedication page instead. But as the world around us changed in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, The Kirkwood moved last year’s Light up a Life celebration online, streaming the live event via YouTube for the first time. It offered a chance for the sisters to join The Kirkwood community to celebrate the memories of their mum and dad.
Brenda, who was cared for on our In-Patient Unit following a diagnosis of lung cancer. She sadly died in 1998. Her beloved husband, Lewis, died in 2017 aged 93, following a fall that resulted in a fatal bleed on the brain.
‘Dyed in the wool’ Brenda and Lewis were hardworking Yorkshire folk, both instrumental, doing their duties in the World War 2 effort. Brenda, of Primrose Hill, was the daughter of a local butcher and worked throughout the war, serving her community in the family shop. Lewis, who hailed from Netherton, was the son of a milkman and served in the RAF. He was based in Burma for three years.
Helen speaks of her Mum’s time being cared for on The Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit: “Coming to The Kirkwood is just like coming to an oasis, a little bit of calm.”
During Brenda’s visit for symptom management, she regularly attended workshops such as silk scarf painting. Helen also remembers the support her dad, Lewis, received during this time, describing it as “invaluable to him”.
Helen described one of her most memorable days, when a volunteer brought her mother over to Shropshire to visit and view a potential new home with Lewis – next door to Helen’s home. Sadly, the day Brenda would move in with Lewis to their new home never arrived.
Helen says: “The care and attention to detail whilst we were being care for by The Kirkwood, in support of us all was amazing”.
Helen reminisced about all the gifts and trinkets she still keeps in her possession, bought for her and her sister by Brenda during her visits, something Helen and Catherine will treasure forever.
Helen summarises: “I don’t think it is until you are staring death in the face with someone that really matters to you, that you really understand what it means and how much you really need the people, care and kindness The Kirkwood gave us.”
Helen is currently planning to move to Cumbria to be closer to her sister, Catherine, who was also heavily involved in their mother’s care and in supporting their dad following Brenda’s death.
We wish Helen and Catherine all the very best for the future and look forward to welcoming them both to our LIVE stream Light up a life this year.
If you would like to dedicate a light to someone you love this December, please visit: https://kirkwood.light-up-a-life.org/2021
If you or someone you know is struggling and seeking advice of what to do, you can contact us on our 24/7 call line 01484 557 910 were our specialist teams will be available to listen and offer help.
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