We are constantly humbled by the amazing work of the Butterfly Volunteers. A member of one of the teams recently told us about a letter he helped a patient to write to her Grandchildren in the days before she died…. We have changed names and some of the detail but the emotion comes through in every sentence…
To my dearest grandchildren,
In hospital today I was visited today by a volunteer. I asked him to write a few things down for me. We spent an hour or so thinking about you all and this is what we talked about.
My main wish for you all is to be happy. When you get to my end of life that’s all that matters. Happiness is more important than money. You could be a millionaire and miserable. What’s the point in that? So that’s my number one top tip. Number two is – be kind to people. If you’re kind to people, you’ll find they’re generally kind back. These are my two wishes for you all, happiness and kindness.
We have talked about you all individually. We started with my eldest grandchild – Laura. You have a birthday coming up and I wish you many happy returns. We talked about how proud I was when you received your PGCE and your desire to work with young children. You’re a loving and kind person and I hope you find a special partner to share your life with and maybe have some wonderful children and grandchildren of your own.
Tom, you’re optimistic. You have a great mental outlook. I think you’ve got some of your positive attitude from your grand-dad. I feel sure it will help you get through the tougher times. There will be some, we all have them, but stay positive and I’m sure you’ll be fine.
Charlie, you’re a sensitive soul and so kind. I encourage you to find something you enjoy. You’re trying lots of things at the moment, keep trying until you find something that makes you happy. Being sensitive is a great quality to have. You may feel the bad times more than other people, but that’s the same for the good times too. Finding something to do that you enjoy will bring confidence.
William, when we talked about you, I couldn’t help but smile. I’ve not had a chance to spend as much time with you as the others but you’re funny – and a little bit cheeky! As brothers, I hope you look after each other; you’ll need each other.
We also talked about times when I was growing up. I started work in an insurance company as a short-hand typist but then I got a job with my Dad working in his office. It was an engineering/ sheet metal factory. The office was filthy, but I never had the heart to tell my Dad as I really enjoyed working with him. When I got married and had my children, he used to let me out early so I could go and pick them up from school. We used to pop into the factory to see him too. Ask your Mum if she remembers the factory and the funny pictures on the wall.
I used to live near the seafront on Merseyside. I remember on Sunday’s when I was 5 or 6 years old my father used to take us on the ferry across the Mersey (do you know that song?). We used to go and see my Auntie Jean. She lived in an area which was badly bombed during the war. We used to go for afternoon tea. I remember she lived up a steep hill. It was a wonderful time spent as a family, especially taking the ferry. I encourage you all to visit if you get the opportunity.
I am pretty tired now. This is the most talking I’ve done all day so it’s time to rest, but I’m glad I had the chance to write to you all. I will miss seeing you all grow up, but I feel lucky, lucky to have met you and, lucky to have had the chance to spend time with you.
Look after each other, be kind, and be happy.
How wonderful for those children to be able to read their Grandmothers wishes for them, in the years to come.
Thank you to all the people who come forward to be Butterfly Volunteers – you make such a huge difference to so many people.