Marianne’s Story: “Everybody was so amazing, and so caring”
9th March 2023< BACK TO NEWS
In September 2022 Marianne Tabb completed a 127 mile section of the South West Coast Path over thirteen days. It was to raise money for Weldmar Hospicecare in memory of her husband, Dai.
The pair met in the late eighties whilst working in London, but within just a couple of years they had relocated to Dorset, got married, and had their son, Jacob. Both Marianne and Dai had retired and Jacob had flown the nest to university, when Dai was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer in early 2021. “Because of the terminal diagnosis,” says Marianne, “everything kicked into action very quickly. We had a Weldmar Community Nurse, Lorna, and she was fantastic. She took off so much pressure from me and Jacob. She organised the meds, she liaised with the GP, and more so that we could concentrate on looking after Dai.”
“Dai died just ten weeks later, and spent his final two weeks in the hospice, which is where he said he wanted to die. It was such a relief for him to be there, because things were getting a little scary at home and he was getting weak.”
“Everybody was so amazing, and so caring. I remember at one point I was exhausted but didn’t want to leave his side, but a nurse told me I needed to have a break and some lunch and she sat with him whilst I was gone. He had the care there that he wanted, and so did Jacob and I.”
“It’s obviously not a great time, but it was as good as it could have been. They looked after us all so well.”
Both Marianne and Jacob have received bereavement counselling from Weldmar, and in fact Jacob started his care from the Patient and Family Support Services team before Dai died. Marianne, at first, felt as though she didn’t need it, but within a few months she decided to take up the offer, which she says was ‘incredibly helpful’.
As a very difficult 2021 passed, it was the following year when Marianne felt as though she wanted to give something back to Weldmar. A keen walker, she planned her Walk For Dai which would see her walk from Minehead to Bude on the first – and most challenging – stretch of the South West Coast Path. Her good friends David and Holly provided much needed support, with David joining Marianne for the walk, and Holly driving from checkpoint to checkpoint with their camping gear, and sorting out all of the meals!
There was one particularly poignant moment for Marianne when they reached the highest point of the pathway, Great Hangman. Over to one side she could see Wales, and Dartmoor to the other, both places being where some of Dai’s ashes are scattered.
Marianne had set up an online page to fundraise for Weldmar, and before she even set foot on the famous stretch of coastal path it had reached £500, climbing to a final total of almost £2,500.
“I didn’t put a figure on what I wanted to raise, so I thought this was fantastic. I was absolutely amazed, as a lot of friends and family contributed, as well as old colleagues of Dai’s that I hadn’t seen for years. People know that it’s such a great cause, and even if they are not local they know the value of hospice care. I found it incredibly touching.”
However, she says it was so much more than fundraising. “Weldmar were an incredible support to me and Jacob, as well as Dai, of course. I know that a lot of people feel they have to challenge themselves to raise money, but the reality is they are reminding people that the charity they are supporting exists and that they need you. So with my walk, it was more about saying ‘I’m doing this, and the reason I’m doing it is for Dai and what Weldmar did for us.”
Thank you to Marianne for sharing her story, and we wish her luck as she hopes to complete the remainder of the South West Coast Path, all the way to Poole where she and Dai first settled in Dorset in 1989.