Stanley John Dennis
Stanley was a fantastic talker and an equally earnest listener. He was much loved. His great sense of humour, love of food, family and the community made his 85 years of life very rich. Meredith, his daughter and the President of TPS talks about her incredible father and about their experience at Wedgetail Retreat Hospice.
Mum and Dad have been visiting the Tweed every year for the last 16 years escaping the cold Adelaide winters but this visit was different. From the moment I picked them up at Coolangatta airport I could see Dad was not well. His health deteriorated and he was admitted to Murwillumbah hospital and then on to Tweed hospital where he was diagnosed with lung cancer with bone metastasis.
An incredible shock for all of us and the whole family flew from Adelaide to be with Dad as his condition was very serious. Dad was in Tweed for a week then down to Murwillumbah for some rehab to get him back on his feet so he could go home. Home to Adelaide was not an option as Dad couldn’t fly because of the large blood clots in his lungs. I jokingly said to Dad he could be the Wedgetail Retreat poster boy and be one of our first clients. Unfortunately, I was right. Dad and Mum moved into Wedgetail Retreat on Dad’s discharge from hospital and spent the next month there with the whole family and friends coming to visit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and relaxed atmosphere that is Wedgetail Retreat.
After one more short visit to hospital to have fluid drained from his lungs Dad was returned to Wedgetail Retreat by ambulance and three weeks later he passed away very peacefully at 10.30 pm on 23rd of July.
Dad was married to my Mum, Mignon, for 53 years, had 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Mum and Dad lived on a farm in the Adelaide Hills with my brother and their little dog Reggie. Dad missed the company of Reggie so one of my dogs was a stand in and Bodhi spent many days with Dad and didn’t leave his side on the day he died.
Loosing our darling Dad and Grandpa has been the worst experience of our lives but being able to be with him and spend those last precious weeks all together laughing and enjoying every minute knowing he was never alone or scared was invaluable.
We are thankful that Dad and the family were in the most beautiful, loving environment of Wedgetail Retreat Hospice. It made the whole experience bearable. I would never have imagined that my Dad would be one of the first clients at Wedgetail Retreat Hospice.
After Dads death, Tweed Hospital Chaplain, Dorothy Owens, conducted a wonderful Celebration of Life ceremony at Wedgetail Retreat for Dads’ Tweed friends. - Meredith
Dorothy, Meredith and Mignon Dennis
The Dennis Family
Sandy has been on an incredible journey and is featured in the Wedgetail Retreat commercial. This is what she had to say about our team: “Their compassion, commitment and positive energy beam a white light in a dark time. They offer support and care in a wholistic way to each individual and their family and friends.”Hi my name is Sandy Brown but most people know me as Miss Sandy. I have worked with very young children and their families for around 25 years and as Director of Squiggles Creative Learning Centre for the last twelve years.
I love my work, the challenges and rewards are inconceivable to most!!! Life has always been a roller coaster and in December 2011 I was diagnosed with a Level V Malignant Melanoma. Three days before Christmas I had surgery to remove the malignancy and Lymph Nodes in my leg. By October 2012 life was getting back to normal although I was still very tired. I had a routine mammogram which was followed by a call from Breastscreen telling me I needed to see their Doctor ASAP. Biopsies and other tests led to the decision that I should undergo a Bi-Lateral Mastectomy and Reconstruction. At first things were looking positive, but then came the news that the Cancer was invasive and HER2+ (attaches to Hormones), and I would need Chemo. In the meantime, my Reconstruction deteriorated and after six surgeries to try and save them it was decided the implants had to be removed so Chemo could start.
I was devastated and for me, this has been the biggest struggle. Every time I look at my flat, disfigured chest I am reminded that I have Cancer. No more denial , no more thinking I will just get back to normal. Chemo followed and I struggled with the side effects. I spent a lot of those 6 months in hospital. I will be on Herceptin for the HER2+ until March next year and look forward to the end of that part of the treatment .
I believe my Spiritual beliefs and practices have played a major role in my healing. My family and friends (big and small) and Medical Staff have been my strength and inspiration to get better. Their unconditional love, care, and generosity have motivated and comforted me. This includes the committed and giving people at TPS and Wedgetail Retreat. Their compassion, commitment and positive energy beam a white light in a dark time. They offer support and care in a wholistic way to each individual and their family and friends.
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy of kindness.”
Tenzin Gvatso, The 14th Dalai Lama
Jasmin (Jaz) Larios
Beautiful and inspiring Jaz was 23 years old when she came and stayed at the Hospice for respite with her mother, Miriam. Jaz had supported the Leukaemia Foundation for years when she was diagnosed with Leukaemia herself, her support continued until she died. Jaz loved Nature; animals, especially giraffes and even had hundreds in a collection. There was nothing like carving her way down a mountain on her snowboard to get her blood pumping and she was inspired by collecting and making jewellery with crystals. She loved being around them.Near the end of her time with us, she was asked what she wanted to do if the ‘Sky was the limit’. Her response was to “Hold a chicken, ride a horse and go to the Crystal Castle.” Thanks to Gillian Cooper, Meredith Dennis and others, Jaz got her wish. As you can see from the photo, Monty the horse, loved her right back.
Jaz penned a note to Gillian on behalf of herself and her mum;
“There are no words in our collective selves to describe how wonderful you made us feel, the amazing experience we had and the beautiful love you give – it’s all been so unbelievable, was it all a dream?!……We consider ourselves blessed and honoured that you have stumbled onto our path.”
Jaz and Monty
NOTES OF GRATITUDE
TPS and Wedgetails Retreat have received many notes of gratitude and thanks over the years.
Get inspired by reading them.