Geoffrey Gowland was just 55 when he died, leaving behind his wife and children, Emma and Ashley. Emma has chosen to dedicate wildflowers in his memory to help her feel close to him, especially on tough days. She has done this through the St Barnabas Hospice Wildflower Memories Appeal.
Emma said, “Dad had a really cheeky personality; he used to laugh and laugh at proper ‘dad jokes’ and was just a big child. He spent a lot of his life as a fireman helping others, and that was always his nature. He was the biggest family man and we were his life. As long as we were protected and safe, he was happy.
“He was diagnosed with cancer on 16th March 2016 and died just a couple of weeks later. Our heads were in a spin; we had barely managed to come to terms with his diagnosis before he was gone. My grandparents lost their son – Dad’s brother – when he was very young, so to find out they were losing another son just completely broke them.
“I felt like a lost little girl. I was 28 at the time but it was as though I had reverted back to being a child, just trying to tell myself that it was all a bad dream.
“Our saving grace during this horrible period of our lives was St Barnabas Hospice. The dignity and care they showed my dad was like nothing I had ever imagined. From the moment the family walked in, we felt they were caring not only for dad, but for us too.
“My brother and I struggled to process our feelings alongside making sure Mum was ok, but the nurses took over and gave us stability when everything was falling apart. Dad’s only wish was to be with Mum until the end, and St Barnabas allowed her to be there every second of every day. I don’t think people realise just how special the team at St Barnabas are.
“One memory which really stands out to me was the Lincoln 10k that year. For a few years, Dad had taken part in the 10k, so this time his friends decided to take it on to show their support for him. When the nurses found out, they came outside with me, held my hand and cheered Dad’s friends on as they ran past the Hospice. I felt so supported and cared for in that moment.
“Growing wildflowers in Dad’s memory is so special to me. I recently bought my first house, which is the first big milestone in my life that he hasn’t been there for. The wildflowers are something I can plant in my garden so that a part of him is here with me. I can look after the wildflowers and talk to Dad at the same time when I just feel like I need him.
“It’s so easy to order your wildflowers – you can do it all online. Just visit www.stbarnabashospice.co.uk/wildflower and fill in a dedication form for your loved one with the amount you would like to donate. When you have finished, your dedication will appear on the screen and you can even share it on social media for friends and family to read!
“The lovely people at the Hospice will then post out your wildflower seeds, which are engrained into a beautiful painting done by Hannah Dale at Wrendale Designs. It comes with instructions on how to plant and care for the seeds, so could not be simpler.
“The seeds will carry on re-seeding themselves for years to come, so Dad can be there in my garden always.”