Share Your Story
Hearing about others' experiences can be helpful when dealing with death and bereavement. Do you have a personal experience that you'd feel comfortable sharing with the campaign? If so, let us know...
My precious daughter Freya had Cystic Fibrosis and died in hospital at the age of 24 in June 2014.
During her last few days, a young, dynamic nurse encouraged her to talk about her funeral and so she did. It was actually a happy moment; we even managed to laugh.
She wanted her coffin carried through the woods by her friends, yellow roses and a VW camper van.
One of the things she cared very much about was the fact that she didn't want to be placed in the hospital fridge and wanted to come home as soon as she died.
I began to prepare for this. I approached the hospital mortuary and explained the situation.
'Can't be done," came the reply. "She will need to stay here until the paperwork is done, especially if she dies at the weekend."
They underestimated the lion mother. This was the last thing I could do for the love of my life.
After a series of conversations, including one in which I said I would simply carry her out myself if they didn't co-operate, a consultant stepped forward and quickly put everything in place for when the time came.
Freya breathed her way out of this life gently and easily, especially as breathing had been so difficult for her for many years.
Lovely friends who were funeral arrangers carried her out and she was home on the sofa within an hour-and-a-half of her death.
She stayed at home until the day of her funeral, surrounded by yellow roses and visited by friends who drank tea, wept and told stories of our charming and beautiful girl.
We slept beside her every night and felt a sense of calm and peace emanating from her. It was powerful, almost like a beam of energy. We kept her cool in the hot weather by creating a blanket of frozen sweetcorn!
Her funeral was on a beautiful, sunny day. Her girlfriends carried her out of the house into the VW camper van and we then carried her through the woods near to the crematorium. We sang as we walked and then released yellow balloons as we said goodbye to her body. A day of wonder.
The grief I experience is overwhelming, it is a trauma from which I will never recover. I yearn for her with every bone in my body and my heart is cracked wide open.
But my daughter came home and I take such comfort from this. I can smile when I remember this special time.
The Dying Matters Coalition is led by the National Council for Palliative Care,
the umbrella charity for end of life care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Freephone 08000 21 44 66