Many bereaved parents find it helpful to share their experiences with others and to hear from parents in similar positions to themselves. As part of our grief support, we are building a database of stories, meaningful poems or prose that have helped you or others through the grieving process. These meaningful words offer reassurance, relief from distress, or a much-needed conncection to someone who understands.
Right to the End
Michelle Paull, better known as Shelly, was born on 5 January 1963, the first of three children. She was a happy, fun loving girl who grew and blossomed into a fun loving woman, beautiful outside, but more importantly, beautiful inside. On leaving school Shelly became a hairdresser and began weaving her caring nature into the fabric of Ilminster life. Shelly's working life changed when she went to work at Smiley's Roadside Café, once again she used her people skills to put a smile on the face of many a weary traveller with her infectious smile and sparkling, smiling eyes. A listening ear, counsellor, a shoulder to cry on, many witnessed those special Shelly moments.
She did have a selective memory though where retail therapy was concerned, the European shoe mountain that was left is a testimony to that! A glass or two of red wine would work wonders with Shelly, jokes and their punch lines as she never quite managed to get the right punch line for the right joke. Mischievous, yes, she threatened to leave her African Grey parrot to her Mum. Shelly knew how much her Mum loved him, not!
Shelly not only missed her children desperately when she was in hospital but her two dogs as well. She loved walking her dogs, meeting and making even more new friends. Friends were very important to Shelly's life and paid a huge part in being there through her eight-year illness. In adversity this is where Shelly really came into her own. She has, without doubt, cast a lasting memory on all the minds of the staff she met at Musgrove and St Margaret's Hospice.
When Shelly went for her, what would be, last consultant's appointment she decided there was no further treatment that was going to stop this dreadful disease. The consultant said that Shelly was one of the bravest women she had ever met, in fact, she went on, you are the bravest woman I've ever met. Shelly took this incredible courage into the hospice where she naturally used her people skills to comfort other patients and staff who would visit her when they were feeling in need of cheering up. The hospice staff treated her like she was their own daughter and they were truly amazed at her courage and strength. This was a great comfort to her family.
On her 40th birthday Shelly decided she wanted to have a Birthday Bash to raise money for Musgrove Oncology Ward. Events around that night raised almost seven thousand pounds. However it did more than that, through the publicity generated more people did the same thing, raising even more money for the hospital. Shelly's fundraising hasn't stopped because she isn't there, the Saturday before she passed away she was working out how much could be made from her funeral for the Hospice and the Oncology Ward!
Shelly was thinking of others right to the end, frightened of dying, no, scared of the pain, yes, concerned for her family and friends she was leaving behind, a big yes. Mother, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, friend, she was warm, caring, loving, joyous, determined, strong, courageous and brave, an inspiration to all who met her.