Matt was an in-patient at the Young Person’s Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for over four months. During that time we got to know many of the staff very well, in fact many made us feel more like family whilst we were there. They were always prepared to spend time with us; whether it was answering Matt’s lists of questions, doing a couple of clues from a crossword, making Matt a tasty milkshake, sharing a video of their cat, having a quick game of chess, or keeping me talking in a side room until the blotches from my tears had disappeared and I could go into Matt without him knowing I had been crying. I will never be able to thank them enough for all of the many kindnesses that they showed us.
Visits from David, one of the chaplaincy team at the Q.E., were always well received. He and Matt would talk about all sorts of things, from current affairs to aspects of bio-chemistry, how the Dyson fan in Matt’s room was engineered to how to make a decent cup of coffee! David would often laugh and say that he would have to go and sit in a dark room after some of their more challenging debates. It was just the sort of interaction that Matt needed.
Likewise, Matt enjoyed the company of John – the palliative care consultant in charge of Matt’s pain relief. John, being a very caring person, was also extremely generous with his time. During their conversations, amongst other things, Matt found out that John enjoyed hill-walking and so suggested that they climb to the top of Mount Snowdon together, as soon as Matt was able to get about after his amputation. No one doubted Matt’s determination after seeing how he tackled his physiotherapy;
John knew it was a serious proposition. Sadly, Matt’s cancer took that challenge away from them and they were unable to climb together.
However, after Matt’s death, David explained to me that John had told him of Matt’s challenge and that they (joined by a another colleague, Tracy) had decided to climb Mount Snowdon together in his honour – I was lost for words. They also offered to take some of Matt’s ashes with them so that, in the end, he was able to complete the challenge he had set for himself and John …
Mount Snowdon – 12/08/2017
Although it was very wet and misty, David (equipped with a Matt-like explorer hat), John, and Tracy managed to get to the top of Mount Snowdon.
They were able to scatter Matt’s ashes successfully while, as David put it, they were ‘up in the clouds’.
Then, after having a tot of toffee vodka and drinking a toast to Matt they made their way down in glorious sunshine.
David told me that it was a great adventure, he said:
“We would not have been there were it not for Matt, and we’re grateful to him for that”.
Thanks to David, John and Tracy for your remarkable tribute to Matt – and for the wonderful kindness that you showed him during his time at the Q.E.