RACHAEL Langman is looking to the future after finally being able to put the most difficult year of her life behind her.
It has been a tragic time for Mrs Langman, from Donisthorpe, after the death of her mother was quickly followed by the loss of her father, both of whom suffered from terrible illnesses.
She insists she would not have been able to get through the period, in which she also lost both grandparents, were it not for a hospice which was there to make the process as smooth as possible.
In 2011, Mrs Langman discovered that her mother Jane had a brain tumour and was told by doctors there was nothing they could do for her.
That was when she turned to St Giles Hospice, based in Whittington, which provides care to patients from across Burton, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire suffering from terminal illnesses, helping them to feel as comfortable as possible.
The hospice was able to provide Mrs Langman’s mother with her wish to spend her final days at home, surrounded by her family.
She said: “I was determined to give mum her last wish and I came to the hospice pleading for help.
“The very next day we were delighted when we took delivery of a bed for mum at home.
“I was so happy when dad and I told mum she would be coming home.
“She gave me a big hug, said thank you and that she was so proud of me.”
Mrs Langman was able to comfort her mother in the lead-up to her death, but sadly, the pain was not over.
In the build-up to her mother’s funeral, her father Dennis had also become noticeably ill, and a day after her mother was laid to rest, Mrs Langman was hit by another devastating blow – she was told her dad was dying due to a tumour on his liver.
Mrs Langman brought forward her plans to wed then-fiance Ben, in the hope that her dad would be able to see her walk down the aisle, but it soon became clear that he wouldn’t be able to make the service.
She said: “We set our wedding date for seven weeks’ time in the hope that dad could be there to see me walk down the aisle, but as time went on he got weaker and we made the decision to have a blessing in the church as we started to realise he wasn’t going to see us get married.
“Dad was so happy seeing us bless our future and I will always treasure that memory.”
Now, as Mrs Langman moves on with her life with husband Ben at their Donisthorpe home, she is raising awareness for St Giles Hospice, which is to celebrate its 30th anniversary later this year, encouraging others who may find themselves in a similar situation to turn to the charity.
She said: “I know mum was so thankful for that extra week she got to spend at home thanks to St Giles.
“The Hospice at Home support was above and beyond – I couldn’t have asked for better support for mum and our family.
“In such a short amount of time it gave us so many memories. My mum was my best friend and seeing her go through what she went through was one of the hardest things I’ll ever experience, but St Giles made it easier to cope with.
“When I look back and remember the strength she showed throughout her battle with cancer, it makes me stronger.
“Dad had his own private room and he seemed very comfortable and relaxed there. I think he was always worried about his family having to care for him, and having that stress taken away from us also helped him feel more relaxed.
“While dad was in the hospice it had a positive effect on the whole family. We had so many happy memories being there with him, talking and laughing about times gone by.”
More than 12 months on from the most difficult year of her life, Mrs Langman feels she is finally in a position to move on.
She added: “Slowly life started to get better. My husband said that every time I came back from a counselling session it looked like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
“It’s been a difficult journey that is still ongoing, but with the help of everyone who has stood by me I know I will get through it.”