Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and had 14 different chemotherapy treatments. In December 2016 Judy finished her chemotherapy and palliative care was proposed. She came to Sobell House mid-February and has been a patient of ours ever since. Her husband Roy is staying with her.
Both Judy and Roy had been married previously and they both lost their spouses very suddenly. In 1988 Roy’s wife had a cardiac arrest in the middle of the night and in 1996 Judy’s husband Morris died of a fatal accident at work. Both families suffered a very brutal and massive shock. Roy has two daughters from his previous marriage and Judy has a son and a daughter.
Pillars of the community
Judy and Roy have been married for 19 years. A dental nurse by training, Judy then went on to work in catering at Christchurch. Roy was a carpenter. Since their move to Wootton 15 years ago they have played a central role in fundraising for their local community. Numerous quizzes and coffee mornings, Sandleigh Seniors Club, bingo nights and much time and dedication on both their parts helped to raise £25,000 towards the refurbishment of the local community centre. They are both enormously grateful to the entire community for supporting their efforts by coming to these events and taking part. As a result, the couple enjoy a great number of friends and their calendar of visitors requires careful management!
Preparing for her death
Having suffered such a shock with the loss of their first spouses, Judy brought up the subject of their own death with Roy a few years after they got married. At first Roy was a bit put off by this but he quickly came round and saw that this was an important thing to do.
They involved their children in the discussion and agreed that Judy’s ashes would be placed with her first husband’s and that Roy would be next to his late wife in order to ‘bring the parents together’.
All their paperwork is in order. Judy has made arrangements for the service with funeral directors and paid for it. She was offered a number of options to choose from, took her time to consider each one and settled for the package of a hearse, the staff and a collection.
She has chosen to have pink, cream and white chrysanthemums among others on her coffin and has paid for them in advance. She would like the family to take them home after the funeral.
The service at the Oxford Crematorium will be run by a spiritualist friend of the family. This will be followed at a later date by on a Saturday by a ceremony for the family at St Giles Horspath Church, led by the vicar for Wootton. Judy’s ashes will then be placed in the cemetery next to those of her late husband Morris.
Judy’s son Simon will manage the collection which will be in aid of Sobell house.
Although it is clear that, at times, Roy finds it difficult to talk about Judy dying, he can also see how much it means to her to be organised about it and knows very well that she is doing this out of her love for him and their family.
Roy says ‘Sobell has opened my eyes. I thought it would be all religious and dark. When Judy said she wanted to come here I didn’t believe it’.
Judy thought that when she came to Sobell House she would not have the strength to carry on. If anything, she says, being here has given her more strength.
Right now, all the family is going along with Judy and Judy is going with the flow.