Mother’s Day can be a precious time to celebrate the relationship between mother and child. On the morning of Mother’s Day many children will be handing over hand-made gifts and cards; lovingly folded, painted and glued together. Some mums will be brought a cup of tea, a bowl of cereal and some toast on a tray for breakfast in bed. For others, this will not be possible, but local families with terminally ill children will still celebrate the fact that they are mum to much-loved children.
We asked Helen & Douglas House Mums what this special day means to them and how they are planning to celebrate it with their loved ones.
One of these special Mums is Tania who lives in Abingdon with her daughter Amana aged 14 and Dilly aged two. Tania has fostered and adopted children with disabilities for the last 20 years.
She was special guardian to Imogen who was severely disabled and came for respite stays at Helen & Douglas House from when she was one year old and died three years ago in 2016 at the age of 13. 14 year old Amana was adopted by Tania 12 years ago. She has spina bifida and has been visiting the hospice for respite care since she was 22 months old.
Tania explains what will happen on her Mother’s Day ‘It will be a very usual Sunday so that means we will have a carer come in the morning to help us get up and then go to church. Amana helps out with the crèche and then she goes off to her own Sunday School. We’ll then have lunch with my mother and father. I will still be caring for the children, their medical needs, tube feeds and all the rest of it. I will be given a daffodil at church which will be very nice and Amana may make me a card.’
‘Coming to Helen & Douglas House is great because someone else takes over all the medical side of things and all the caring and I get to just be Mum which she really appreciates. Someone else takes all the burden and I can take the blessings.’
What is special about being a Mum? According to Tania: ‘My children are amazing. I just feel so lucky to be able to be the one who is with them all the time helping them to grow into to the people that they can be. Dilly makes me laugh every single day and watching Amana with a sibling is incredible. Amana is such a phenomenal big sister. Seeing them together is wonderful. Amana has had a rough year this year and she’s in a lot of pain. But seeing her lean down to hold Dilly’s hands so they can go for a walk together and seeing her celebrate all his progress is amazing.’
Claire lives with her husband Dale in Swindon, with their 11 year old son Max who is cared for at Helen & Douglas House and his sister 8 year old Eva. Max has been coming to Helen and Douglas house for 5 years. Max has mitochondrial disease and he is in renal failure so requires full adult care and dialysis every night. Despite this condition, Max is a very happy and noisy boy. He loves to shout and make dinosaur noises, loves music and laughing lots.
Claire talks about why Mother’s Day is special for her ‘Being Mum to Max and Eva his little sister is very special. They both bring lots of happiness into our lives. Mother’s Day is a special day and they both love helping to make the day very memorable.’
‘I am lucky as I get lots of lovely homemade cards and pictures from Max and Eva and I also get to choose my favourite food and get to do nice things with the children. We will probably go for a nice walk with the dog if the weather is ok or we will just spend the day as a family and do something together.
Although the day is special, Max’s needs still have to be met. Medication needs to be given, dialysis equipment still needs to be set up and care needs to be carried out.’
‘Max gives the best cuddles and a cuddle from Max really does make the day better not just on Mother’s Day but every day and eases away some of the daily worries. Every day with Max and Eva is special. I’m the lucky one being their Mummy.’
Claire explains how Helen & Douglas House makes a big difference to their lives: ‘We always visit Helen & Douglas House as a family. We enjoy being together. Time spent there enables us to step away from Max’s daily medical needs and have fun with Max and be Mummy.
It is all about getting the maximum recharge so we can look after Max when we go home. A good night’s sleep is always very welcome and we all enjoy the tasty food and cake. We get to spend quality time with Eva and she also really enjoys staying at the hospice.’
You can help provide hospice care to local terminally ill children
We would like to celebrate Mother’s Day by asking people to help amazing mothers like Tania and Claire who have children coming to Helen & Douglas House for our care and support through respite care or mothers who are receiving bereavement counselling after their child has died.
By making a donation to our Mother’s Day Appeal you could make an enormous difference to the life of a local family.