Contributed by St Elizabeth Hospice
23/05/2019 - St Elizabeth Hospice
Maggie and Andy Gage enjoyed 34 years of marriage and raised two children, Megan and Jack. The family lived in Hadleigh and Andy worked for Tailor Made Joinery in Bildeston. In January 2017 Andy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he passed away just over a year later in April 2018 at St Elizabeth hospice in Ipswich, aged 59.
Andy was referred to the hospice in March 2017 and benefited from nearly a year of on and off support from the St Elizabeth Hospice nurses, with a mixture of respite care required and help with pain relief and symptom management.
During one of Andy’s first stays in the hospice, in a surreal turn of events, Maggie bumped into some of his former co-workers as they visited the hospice to drop off the large wooden Suffolk Remembers letters, which had been commissioned for the first Suffolk Remembers event in June 2017.
Andy’s co-workers were able to visit him in the hospice that day, and that moment was a highlight in Andy’s care as they made a connection between Andy’s life outside the hospice, and experience in the hospice.
In the following June, Andy’s family were coming to terms with their grief just two months after Andy had passed away. Maggie decided to dedicate a candle to Andy at Suffolk Remembers and attend the event, which is always held on Suffolk Day, 21 June.
Maggie said: “As we came to terms with our loss, I remembered about the hospice’s Suffolk Remembers event and I decided to dedicate a candle in memory of Andy. Arriving at Felixstowe promenade on the night, the atmosphere was fantastic and I was overcome with emotion.
“The letters, which had been crafted by Andy’s work, read ‘Suffolk Remembers’ and were beautifully illuminated with tealights, each one in memory of someone special. Everyone there stood in solidarity and took the opportunity to remember their loved ones with a smile or a tear, as the sun set over the sea. It’s a beautiful, beautiful event that just means so much.
“This year, on 21 June, I will be dedicating another candle to Andy to celebrate his life, as well as support our amazing hospice. Without the hospice, my husband Andy’s end would have been very different and I am forever grateful for the way we were supported as a family.”
Suffolk Remembers is an annual remembrance event which takes place in Felixstowe on Suffolk Day (Friday 21 June) from 9pm and sees Felixstowe sea front lit up with 5,000 personal memories which spell out the words Suffolk Remembers. The event is kindly sponsored by the East of England Co-op Funeral Services.
Candle dedications can be made online and are a suggested £5 donation.
To take part and remember your loved one in support of St Elizabeth Hospice, go to: suffolkremembers.stelizabethhospice.org.uk
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