Neil’s Story: Dragonflies

2nd March 2020

“We have an Acer tree in our garden for Dawn, which helps us feel close to her. This is where our dragonfly will be going, so it can watch over Dawn for us when we’re not there. It’s so important for us to keep her memory alive and celebrate everything that she was. She was my world and I miss her every single day. I see so much of her in Sophie and that is what keeps me going.”

I write to tell you about a very special chance to remember a loved one with an ironwork dragonfly and the amazing support this can provide to a family like mine.  Like you I have lost someone close to me, my wife Dawn to terminal cancer.

Dawn and myself were just a normal family when she got ill.  We had our 7 year old daughter Sophie, Deefor our black Labrador and a fantastic trip to Disneyland Florida planned.  It was while we were away on our dream holiday that Dawn started to get really poorly.  We thought it was just a stomach bug and it was only when we got back and she went into hospital that we realised it was serious.

Two weeks after Florida we were given the shattering news that Dawn had stage 4 cancer.  A few weeks later we found out her cancer had spread and she only had months to live.

It was such a hard time for us all.  Dawn was in agonising pain and we were all trying to come to terms with her illness.  Three days after we found out that Dawn was going to die she went into St Barnabas Hospices In Patient Unit.  She was only supposed to be in there for a few days for pain management but spent 3 weeks there and eventually died in the hospice.

The time that she was in there helped us all immensely.  St Barnabas don’t just look out for the patient they make it about the wider family. Just the week before she died we had our 6th wedding anniversary and they let me take the dog up to see her and take a bottle of prosecco in.  It made such a difference.  While she was in there Dawn was able to make a bear and memory box for Sophie so that she has memories of her mum.  I also remember our last meal together was fish and chips on her bed on the Friday.  She died on the Monday.  Just little things like that made all the difference.

After Dawn died a wonderful lady gave us books with stories to help me and Sophie talk about what had happened.  This included the Dragonfly story and we read one a night for a week.  It was so useful for the two of us to be able to relate the stories back to what had happened to us.

This spring St Barnabas Hospice are inviting people like you and me to donate for an ironwork dragonfly in memory of loved ones.  Your donation will go onto continue the incredible care that we received as a family.  For £34.19 you could get your very own Dragonfly in memory of someone special to you.

All Dragonflies will go into a special display at Doddington Hall from Saturday 4th April until Sunday 19th April as a tribute to those people being remembered.  After this people will be invited to pick up their dragonflies either from the display or from various locations to take home and keep in their gardens.  In addition, there will be exclusive twilight sessions held at Doddington Hall so you can see the display come to life.  Please see overleaf for further details.

Your donation for a dragonfly could be the kindness, care and respect that me and my family received.  Following Dawn’s death I was sinking and accessed further support from the hospice by going for group and individual counselling.  This helped me hugely.  Being within a group gives you different ideas about how to cope or it helps put your mind at rest if you are beating yourself up over something.

Sophie was very lucky to be able to access counselling through her school.  But at the moment there isn’t anything like that in our area for children.  I’ve noticed that children suffer loss in such a different way to adults.  Usually its their first experience of losing someone close and so they rely on adults to guide them through this.

Later on this year St Barnabas will start to offer child bereavement groups and sessions to people in Lincolnshire.  This means that children like Sophie can access specialist support to be able to talk about their experiences and their loss.  Your dragonfly could be a part of making this happen for a young person or child.

I do hope you can join me in having a dragonfly to remember someone. I urge you to fill in the enclosed form if you do.  There are only 1000 dragonflies available to go into the display and an additional 500 to order for collection in June so please order yours today and help care for a family like mine.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story.

Yours Sincerely



Neil Buck
Loving husband and father.  

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