Time for remembrance
Ted Beddoes and his three children were shocked after learning their beloved wife and mother Fiona needed Hospice care.
But looking back on the last few months of her life, the Massey family wouldn't have had it any other way.
"We were very lucky to have their support. Hospice is about quality of life and when you love somebody that's what you want for them," Mr Beddoes, 55, says.
Like many others that aren't physically present around Christmas time, Mrs Beddoes will be remembered by her family through Hospice Stars.
The star decorations are available at West Auckland shopping centres where loved ones can make a donation, write a message on the back of it and place it on a Christmas tree.
All money raised from the decorations will go towards the running costs of Hospice West Auckland's two bedroom specialist palliative care facility that opened in Te Atatu Peninsula in October.
Mrs Beddoes was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last December and died on September 21.
The illness affected the nerves that controlled her muscles and the 52-year-old received ongoing support from Hospice West Auckland including frequent nursing care, acupuncture for pain relief, massage and art therapy.
"At all times we felt as though there was someone to call on," Mr Beddoes says.
"When we first came to Hospice, Fiona's mobility was an issue so the following day the hospice had organised a wheelchair for us to pick up."
Mr Beddoes describes his wife of more than 30 years as a cheeky lady who loved a joke.
"You always knew when she arrived at an event.
"She made her presence felt and was very funny," he says.
Mrs Beddoes was a teacher aide at Don Buck and Massey primary schools and loved seeing kids learn and develop, Mr Beddoes says.
Hospice West Auckland chief executive Barbara Williams says Christmas is often a difficult time for people and the organisation likes to have activities that enable them to remember lives lost.
"No one ever knows when they will need hospice for themselves or a family member and we want to make sure we are there to help when they do," she says.
Hospice West Auckland will hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the People's Park on Te Atatu Peninsula on Sunday. The ceremony will begin at 7pm and families are invited to commemorate lives lost.
Call 834 9750 for more information.
Hospice Star decorations are available from a range of West Auckland malls and stores including LynnMall, Westgate and West City Shopping Centres, Mitre 10 Mega Henderson, Te Atatu Peninsula ASB, Kelston Shopping Centre and Helensville Unichem Pharmacy. They will also be in the four West Auckland Hospice shops.