“Paul packed so much love and adventure into his life, we take comfort from that.”

26th June 2023

A man and a woman, stood opposite a large building in a European city. The man is wearing a blue top and sunglasses, and the woman is wearing a white dress with a red flower print.

Lorraine Bousfield from Woodhall Spa recently lost her husband Paul, who she describes as energetic, life-embracing, generous, kind, and fun-loving.

Paul could never sit still and had many activities and hobbies he enjoyed, from rock climbing, cycling, attending music festivals and concerts, playing guitar with his children, traveling all around the world and volunteering in his local community.

Lorraine says: “Above all else, Paul was a huge family man. Time with his family was his treasure and pleasure. Meals, music, games, chatter – he adored spending time with his children and me. We never really stopped dating, our love was still fresh, special and cherished almost 45 years after meeting at age 16. I was blessed to have had such a very special love story with him.

“He was so proud of becoming a grandad but sadly his first grandchild was born just days after his cancer diagnosis. He never did get to chase him round the garden as we knew he would have done.

In December 2021 Paul developed shingles and contracted Covid-19 shortly after. With so much talk of long Covid, Paul was not too concerned about his persistent sore throat. When he developed a swelling in his neck, Lincoln’s hospital took X-rays, MRIs and other scans. Sadly, in July 2022 Paul received a diagnosis of Hypopharyngeal cancer.

Chemo treatment was unsuccessful, and the cancer developed in new areas. At this stage he was told that his cancer was incurable. Rounds of radiotherapy continued into the new year of 2023, as well as immunotherapy but after each session he required antibiotics, which blunted the treatment.

Lorraine says: “It felt like Paul was thwarted at every turn as he tried to recover enough to have any quality of life. Despite his medical needs being complex he bore all these setbacks and the progression of the disease with great dignity, never complaining about his lot.

“We had not been aware of St Barnabas Hospice prior to his diagnosis. A friend who had lost a daughter said I should seek help from them, but I didn’t know what I needed. When St Barnabas offered us their help, there were many aspects to hospice care which I didn’t know came as part of their service.”

Paul was looked after by St Barnabas nurses at home, receiving not only vital medical care and pain relief but also equipment including a wheelchair, advice from the charity’s Welfare & Benefits team to help him procure a Blue Badge, answers to the many questions the family had about his condition and what to expect next. Paul was also given counselling sessions and his family received bereavement support after his death.

For the last five days of Paul’s beautiful, action-packed life, he found peace at the St Barnabas Inpatient Unit in Lincoln, with his family by his bedside around the clock.

Lorraine says: “Our daughter brought in pictures to decorate the room and a quilt to make it homely. We had many visitors turn up and the staff were perfectly happy from them to take over the space to say their goodbyes.

“The nurses made sure Paul was comfortable, they were discreet and kind. Three massive chairs were found to enable us all to sleep in his room and we were able to just be together for those final days with this very special person. When Paul was leaving us, we were given all the time we needed.

“I thought, as many do, that hospices were only places where patients went to pass away peacefully but St Barnabas has proven to be so much more. I can heartily recommend St Barnabas for anyone struggling to cope, dealing with terminal conditions, and anything else. Contact them, see if they can help you. We will never forget the kindness they gave to our family and the way it changed Paul’s journey.”

Paul and Lorraine’s neighbours Tim, Bob and Steve recently completed a special walk in Scotland and raised over £2,200 for St Barnabas. The trip had originally been planned with Paul before his diagnosis but was postponed in the hope he would be able to make it later.

The group honoured Paul by taking on the West Highland Way walk, with Lorraine supplying them with poetry, blessings and a small ampule of Pauls ashes. They scattered his ashes and read the poems at poignant points on the trip, remembering Paul and the many great moments they had together.

Lorraine says: “I’m always happy to talk about Paul, I can’t help but share how special this man was and what a great loss for him to die so young at age 60. He packed so much love and adventure into his life and we take comfort from that.

“Paul had so much more to give and will be missed by so many people, but everyone who knew him will have some amazing story of Paul making them laugh out loud. He was just that kind of guy.”

St Barnabas Hospice are a local, independent charity, providing free support to over 12,000 people like Paul and his family each year.

If you would like to make a donation, fundraise for the charity, or find out more about the services it provides, please visit www.StBarnabasHospice.co.uk

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