Posted: May 10 2021
Talking about dying isn't easy, but it matters. The Dying Matters campaign aims to create an open culture that talks about death and where people feel able to listen and support those who are planning for end of life, who are dying and who have been bereaved. The campaign also aims to break the stigma around death, to challenge preconceptions and to normalise public openness around death and dying.
Mary Heffernan, Clinical Quality Lead for Children's Specialist Community Nursing, would like to share her experience with a 15 year-old girl called Ellie Bea and the things she taught Mary during her care.
I have been a Nurse for 34 years. I want to share some of the things Ellie Bea taught me, during the time I cared for her.
Ellie Bea was 15 years old with a diagnosis of Anaplastic Ependymoma -a brain tumour. She died a week before her 16th birthday at home with her Mum, Dad and both her dogs (Poppy and Milo) next to her.
Ellie Bea was artistic, intelligent, funny with a dry sense of humour, and was not influenced by others. She was an animal lover; she loved her dogs. She was mature, quiet, had a distinctive style and knew her own mind.
Ellie Bea liked being at home with her Mum, Dad, and her dogs. She also enjoyed horses and horse riding; Ford Mustangs, fast cars and motor bikes; listening to rock and metal music; the colours green, red and black; her phone and Instagram; photography, anime, Pokemon, cosplay, and Japan amongst many other things.
Ellie Bea was involved in all discussions regarding the diagnosis of the brain tumour, its treatment, Advance Care planning, her wishes and hopes during her life and planning for her end of life. These were the most important things for Ellie Bea and the key things I needed to be aware of while I cared for her:
Thank you for your words of wisdom, Ellie Bea.
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