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Brian's Story

08-Nov-2016

Brian's Story

Brian was just 62 years old when he passed away on Tuesday 4th April 2016. Brian was born on 9th November 1953 at Myrtle Street Liverpool, to Beefoe and Ellen Smith. During his time as a merchant seaman Brian travelled to various countries and had amazing stories to share when he returned home to his mum and sisters Beverly, Lorraine, Maureen and Tia. Brian met his wife Kay when his ship docked in Barrow in Furness and became stepdad to Kay's children Paul and Steven, followed by the birth of their two children Kelly and Brian. It was Barrow in Furness that then became Brian's home for the rest of his life.

Brian's sisters fondly remember growing up with Brian. As an older brother, he was a funny character: always playing practical jokes on them! Brian had a creative side to him and his two main passions in life were art and music. Brian would enjoy painting pictures which he would then either gift to his beloved mother or display proudly in his own home. Brian's choice of music would be an acoustic style and he enjoyed listening to guitar tunes, so much so that he decided he would play himself. Brian taught himself how to play and his love of music is something that would continue right up until the very end of his life.

Although Brian's marriage sadly came to an end, Barrow in Furness had become his home, and he decided not to return to Liverpool but to continue living in this lovely little town. He would often return to Kirkby to visit his mum and sisters and would speak fondly of his friends up in Barrow and the love of music they shared.

In 2014 Brian became ill and following tests he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Brian began treatment and at one point was given the all clear. Unfortunately, this did not last long and the cancer returned. Brian battled on until he and his family were told that there was sadly no more that could be done to help Brian but make him as comfortable as possible. It was at this point that St Mary's Hospice was introduced to Brian and his family. His sister Tia recalls how she felt when the hospice was suggested: “The mention of a hospice ultimately brought fear to us all. It just felt like this was the end of the road and a hospice was somewhere people just went to pass away.”

Sadly the day before Brian moved in to the hospice his beloved mum had passed away back in Liverpool. This was an extremely distressing time for the whole family but the staff at St Mary's were fantastic and such a huge comfort at such a difficult time for Brian and his sisters. With his family travelling from Liverpool to move Brian to the hospice situated in Ulverston, the staff did not hesitate in ensuring that Tia and Beverly had somewhere to stay. They showed outstanding hospitality and brought a light relief with their friendly manner and comforting words.

Brian absolutely loved the staff at St Mary's and really enjoyed their company. One of the family's favourite memories of Brian's time in the hospice was one morning when Brian was getting ready a bath and two members of staff took him on each arm. Brian was always determined to carry on walking no matter how weak he was. He found being joined on each arm by these two lovely ladies brilliant and begun singing “I'm getting married in the morning! Ding Dong the bells are gonna chime,” as usual Brian was lifting the spirits of everybody around him and hopped in to a massive bubble bath delighted with himself!

Tia remembers fondly how nothing was ever too much: “The staff in the hospice always made so much time for Brian. He loved chatting to them and making everybody laugh with his funny stories and jokey manner. I remember one night Brian had not had a very good time, the staff advised us to contact family members and basically prepared us for the worst. We sat up all night not knowing what the situation would be by morning. Well anyway, Brian woke up the next morning and being the joker that he was exclaimed 'I'm alive!' And had everybody laughing and relieved! He picked up his guitar and begun strumming away to one of his favourite artists Paul Weller and the staff all sat around him just enjoying his music. It was such a lovely feeling, we knew he was absolutely in the best place possible and that really made what was a horrible situation that bit more bearable.”

Brian eventually moved down to a hospice in Liverpool to spend his final days to be closer to all of his family but they will never forget how much he loved his time at St Mary's. Brian passed away on 4th April 2016 surrounded by his family.

Thank you so much to Brian’s family for sharing such a private time and loving memories of Brian. Your story will hopefully encourage more patients and their families to access the care, comfort and support of St Mary’s Hospice whenever and wherever they need it.

Brian was a keen and talented artist, here’s some wonderful examples of his work:



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