The Voices that Shaped Us:
Modern Hospice in the Making

Have your say

Have your say

As part of our exhibition, we are keen to hear from you about your thoughts on death and dying, on the role of hospices and on your memories of St Christopher’s.

We invite you to respond to some or all of the questions below, and the responses will be published on our website, carrying on the discussion.

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What does a good death mean to you?

A good death for me would be one surrounded by things that I love. Puppies, babies and chocolate.

Anonymous

Death is part of life, we will all die. I think we need as a society to be a bit more open about that and to be willing to talk about our own deaths, even while we live.

Anonymous

Acceptance and peace with those you love.

Anonymous

Being as pain/symptom-free as possible, at an old age, and with enough time/warning to come to terms with everything and get emotionally ready. I’d like to have done everything I want to do, and be with my partner and children (if we have any) in peace and comfort. I hope that death will be like falling asleep when you’re feeling safe and warm and loved and rested, like the feeling when you finally have a break scheduled and you don’t need to set an alarm for the morning.

Sarah H

It means a death where what their life meant to those who love them, and reflects who they are. To me Sally is still Sally, and receiving end of life care does not change that. So a good death means leaving this earth with the same values they held dear whilst alive

Anonymous 

I think a good death for me, means one that is pain free and which I am ready for when it comes. So with enough time to think about what is happening to me & to say the things I want to say.

Anonymous 

A good death to me is being free of pain, surrounded by the people you love and with no regrets. Knowing the people you are leaving behind will be cared for after you have died and that life will go on in all its chaotic beautifulness!

Emily B

Ensuring that everyone I love knows I love them Dying in as comfortable a way as possible Saying the things I would like to say Dying in a place I feel comfortable and safe in A view of plants or nature.

Anonymous

How would you like an organisation like St Christopher’s to help you and those close to you to achieve a good end of life?

I hope the people I love will have access to the support of a place like St Christopher’s when they need it. I feel so privileged to see the huge difference my colleagues make to people at the most emotionally and physically challenging times of their lives. They help people to be themselves again. To be families instead of caregivers. That is good end of life care.

Emily B

Recognising cultural differences in terms of how death is handled within different cultures. An example would be a traditional Jamaican way is to have what they call ‘Nine Night’. Which is Nine days of open house which they believe helps the person cross over by the last contact with everyone they knew and people that were important to them, even if they had not seen them for many years. To some traditionalists it is a vital part of the whole passing process. Just an example.

Anonymous 

Provide information and discuss different options in an accessible and thought provoking way; answer questions; understand and facilitate personal wishes as far as possible; enable and respect patient autonomy (in terms of decisions/preferences etc)

Sarah H

Only to listen, care and understand.

Anonymous

I think that hospices need to offer a holistic service to the patient and the people caring for them. When my mother was dying I didn’t have a good experience with my local hospice. What I really needed support with was her care and somebody to look after me, which I didn’t feel I got. This was 10 years ago now and I hope that things have moved on a bit.

Anonymous 

By opening up conversations about death and dying so that I and those around me know more about the choices available to us. 

Anonymous

Do you have a story connected with St Christopher’s over the last 55 years that you’d like to share with us?

Treat me with dignity and respect, honor my wishes and those things that matter most to me.

Anonymous

I discovered St Christopher’s garden of tranquility quite late into my time working there, and had a beautiful break from work to sit and contemplate life. I was then met by a furry Fox who did not seem to be bothered by my presence, and I lay at peace in nature with a feeling of warm serenity that only a place of good will can bestow.

Anonymous

Hospice has given people permission to talk about dying, but even more to process it in different ways.

Anonymous

St Christopher’s is such a fabulous place to work thanks to the many wonderful people who make it what it is. A highlight for me was the London New Year’s Day Parade to mark our 50th anniversary. Staff, volunteers, patients and families joined together in stunningly made costumes which everyone had come together to make in art therapy sessions. It POURED with rain but it couldn’t dampen our spirits and the colourful costumes, good spirits and special people perfectly represented the hospice in all its uniqueness.

Anonymous 

About the exhibition

Also in this section

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The voices that shaped us: Early years

Explore the story behind the creation of St Christopher's Hospice

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The voices that shaped us: The work

Hear about on the wards and the work of the hospice as it developed

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