As Hospice Awareness Week begins today, Tauriko resident Emma Frame hopes the Western Bay of Plenty community will give generously to the hospice that supported her mother ‘Rona’ in her final months of life.
Robina Simpson – known as ‘Rona’ – died of liver cancer nine years ago, aged 58.
However, it wasn’t until a year later that Emma discovered a Waipuna Hospice nurse was with Rona in her final moments.
“Knowing this kind lady was with mum when she passed has brought me a lot of peace,” says Emma, who believes people who haven’t been connected to a hospice possibly don’t realise the support they offer those with life-limiting illnesses and their families to well after the person has gone.
“Anything I can do to help hospice, and raise the profile of the incredible work that they do, I will,” says Emma. “Because the service they provide is invaluable – you can’t even explain it unless you’ve needed their support.”
Son-in-law Tim Frame with wife Emma Frame and her mother, the late Rona Simpson, and her son Adam Simpson pictured at the Mount Main Beach. Photo: Supplied.
Emma describes mum Rona as a nurturing, hardworking, selfless, caring, thoughtful lady. “It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse…she brought up me and my brother Adam mostly by herself…I can’t even give the words to describe how awesome a person she was…
“You’d come a home, she’d been to the supermarket and there’d be chocolate bars in the cupboard.”
Rona was diagnosed with liver cancer in June 2013 after experiencing swelling. “Mum’s liver cancer started from cirrhosis of the liver.
“She hid it so well...when I look back I think she was trying to protect us but I reckon she must have been feeling like absolute rubbish for some time before she received her diagnosis.”
Hospice cup of teas
Rona was given 12 months to live. However she passed away three months later on September 12, 2013. “Mum and I spent a lot of time together during her last few months,” says Emma.
“During that time, she’d regularly go out and visit Waipuna Hospice. It was about once a week at least.
“Mum was an aged care facility nurse, so in a way she knew what was happening to her. When she would visit Waipuna Hospice she would pop in and have a chat to them, have a cup of tea and get the support she needed. It was amazing for her to be able to do that.”
Meanwhile, Emma and husband Tim had booked a European OE “and mum was adamant that we still go”.
“Of course, we thought she had longer than she did. A few days prior to us leaving, mum was discharged from hospital and she looked amazing. She was glowing and looked the best I had seen her for months.
“She dropped us off at Tauranga Airport and said ‘goodbye’, then 24 hours later she died. We weren’t there,” says Emma, who was aged 25 at the time.
Hospice nurse present
Emma discovered her friend that works at the hospice was with her mum when she died. “I couldn’t think of anyone better to have been there in her last moments than a hospice nurse.”
Emma says the biggest thing for her was the support Waipuna Hospice offered when she returned from overseas.
Emma Frame with her mother, the late Rona Simpson, at Mount Main Beach. Photo: Supplied.
“When mum died we continued on our trip – which was really hard but was the right thing to do and what she’d have wanted us to do.
“When we got back the continued support and reaching out from the hospice was amazing.
“You know, when someone close to you dies, like your mum, everyone around you has a short grieving period with you; and then they move on.
“But I don’t; I will be grieving for mum for the rest of my life. Knowing that Waipuna Hospice doesn’t move on, that they are always there if we need them, is just incredible.
“It’s really nice to know that you’re not on your own. That’s why I’m so appreciative of Waipuna Hospice; I now do all I can to support them, whether it’s volunteering at events, or sharing my story.”
Celebrate the services
Hospice Awareness Week, from May 16-22, is an opportunity to profile and celebrate the services that hospices provide in their local communities, and address misconceptions people may have about hospice care.
The late Rona Simpson and her son Adam Simpson. Photo: Supplied.
This is done through advocacy, appeals, events, and the sharing of stories like Emma’s.
HAWK gives Waipuna Hospice the chance to tell people about who they are and what they do to support our community – bringing light to the fact that their care is holistic, considering a person’s physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs.
Moreover, their care is not only for the patient, but also families and caregivers too – both before and after a death.
To support Waipuna Hospice this Hospice Awareness Week and help them care for the terminally ill and bereaved in our community, donate at: https://www.waipunahospice.org.nz/hawk-2022-donation