“My wife Shejal was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2018. She went through almost a year of strong chemotherapy and was finally discharged on 19th December after being given the all clear. My two daughters and I were delighted to receive such a “gift” just before the festive season.
Shejal loved her job at the chemists store and wanted to return to work at the earliest. So, she visited her GP to get a fitness note. She had felt abdominal pain occasionally but the pain got worse and she became breathless when meeting with her GP on 24th December, Christmas Eve.
That’s when life changed unexpectedly for Shejal and our family. So soon.
It was a deeply upsetting time. The festive holidays meant that medical tests and doctor appointments had to wait because of lack of staff.
On 27th December, Shejal went through several rounds tests and scans in the hospital. When we met with the oncologist, he said, “Shejal has liver cancer. It is at an advanced stage. We don’t have time”. When I asked how much time there was left, he didn’t say a word.
I don’t remember when the New Year passed us by.
Shejal became very weak quite rapidly and her pain got so much worse. On 8th Jan she was admitted to hospital. Shejal was very strong minded and she had accepted her situation. Having seen the care her cousins and other relatives received at St Luke’s in the past, Shejal decided she didn’t want to come home. She wanted to spend her last days at St Luke’s Hospice instead.
My wife Shejal was admitted to St Luke’s Hospice on 10th January, in her last stages of cancer. As soon as she was taken to her room with views of the lovely garden, Shejal said, “I am already in heaven”.
Shejal was much loved by any one who knew her. Over 90 friends and family members visited the Hospice on the day.
Shejal passed away a day later. But in that brief time the care that she was given at St Luke’s was truly exceptional. With dignity and compassion, the staff at St Luke’s made Shejal as comfortable as they could during her last day.
It really was the best care we could have asked for.
Shejal was enthralled by the care St Luke’s had provided to her loved ones in the past. She liked St Luke’s and felt it was the best place for her at the end of her life.
This is the reason my daughters and I wanted to create a memory for her at the Hospice. We decided to dedicate a golden apple on the Tree of Life at St Luke’s Hospice. It was one of the best ways to fondly remember Shejal – a loving wife, a devoted mother to our lovely daughters, a caring member of our extended family, and a supportive friend to those in need.
Getting the golden apple engraved on the Tree of Life was a wonderful way of remembering Shejal and creating a lasting tribute to her life, whilst also giving back to St Luke’s who looked after her so well before she passed away.
My family, friends, and I continue to participate in events and fundraise for St Luke’s. It is our way of giving back to this special place which provided peace and happiness to Shejal during her last moments.
Family and friends who attended Shejal’s funeral helped donate £1350 to the Hospice. I am also thankful to my manager Ashok Arora at XPO Logistics, Neasden for generously donating £5000."
- Kiran Shah