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Life of Brian

Life of Brian

Brian is a great-grandfather whose stories will have you hanging onto each sentence. He’s currently surrounded by family, being cared for by Cranford Hospice in his own home.

He has impressive ancestry, having a direct line to Florence Nightingale through his grandmother. His grandfather was an apprentice at Kew Gardens, going on to manage large English Estates and a sugarcane plantation in the West Indies, which naturally led Brian down the horticultural route too. This is the same Grandfather that was riding his bike into town when he was 90 and rolling his lawn with a concrete roller.

Brian managed to fit a lot into his own 78 years, and he was happy to share all of it when we visited him in his own home, in the middle of his rose nursery. His life story takes you everywhere from the freezing works to a large-scale ornamental nursery. He also had stints shepherding when he was younger, and as a Psychotherapist later on. A love of fishing and seafood became obvious from his favourite foods and newspaper clippings of impressive catches from this Hawke’s Bay local. This mix of life experiences has shaped Brian’s outlook of life, and of dying.

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His second wife was a nurse at Cranford Hospice, which gave him some insight into the service, and he shared with us:

Even with all my experience before with hospice, I still didn’t have a firm understanding of what the effects would be for me. When I was referred it changed my feeling of security and knowledge of, I’ve got this support system behind me that I can call on.

Brian cares a lot about the kind of support he can receive from hospice, and the individualised approach that we take for each person. He is currently cared for in his own home, his daughter Felicity and granddaughters have moved in with him, and his neighbour is close by. Another daughter, Kate, runs the onsite rose nursery, and his other grandchildren and great grandchildren are only a drive away.

From how Brian speaks to his genealogy through to how he gushes about his granddaughter’s horse-riding successes, you can feel how important family is to him, and how being able to access care from home means he can still experience all these things.

For me, it’s a huge relief knowing that I’ve got the medical system there for the clinical objective aspects of it, but then I’ve got the other side which has got the nurturing side.

Brian feels our Family Support Team is so important to the overall care offered by Cranford Hospice. It’s part of the nurturing, caring, supportive environment that hospice provides, where the type of care you receive is unique to you. He admires the level of skill our nurses have, understanding that everybody experiences dying in a different way, although there may be some similarities in how you are feeling. He’s grateful to have hospices support now, that gives him the opportunity to treasure every moment with his family.

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