“I fell in love with Kristin the minute I saw her, I was hit by a bomb. Absolutely. We just clicked, and life was brilliant.”
Nick Carey met his future wife Kristin while working in Dublin in the late 1990s. He and New Yorker Kristin commuted between Ireland and England before Kristin’s visa expired and she returned to the States.
“The last time I flew to Kristin was 13 September 2001, two days after the terrorist attack. I took the flight because Kristin was at the end of it,” said Nick.
The couple married in England in 2002 before finally making their home in Telford.
“Our formative years were great, and our relationship was rock solid,” he said. “We went through it all. We were expecting and lost our first child but the theme through our marriage was we were never going to sit and dwell on things. There was life to be lived.
“Our son John arrived in 2004. Olivia in 2006 and Alice in 2010.”
As a family they loved being active. Kristin cycled to Paris as well as swimming 10 miles for charity. They were also part of a group of parents taking on challenges such as mud runs, canoe trips, and – one of their favourite things – walking up Snowdon.
Yet a year after giving birth to Alice, Kristin was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. The couple knew that time was precious and being together and creating memories was paramount.
“There was such togetherness through it all, we were as tight as you like,” said Nick. “We had our big group of family and friends. And we were always laughing. We both knew what was going on and it would end badly, and there was absolutely no way it was going to stop life. We didn’t fool ourselves, we just decided we were not going to buckle and fold.”
Kristin died in February 2019. Her funeral wishes were for everyone to wear her colour – green – and to raise money for us.
“My brother took all the donation envelopes from the hospice and I bought a huge bag of pens. The crematorium was filled to capacity. Then money came from Tennessee, Florida, New York, France and Ireland. It was marvellous when we saw the total. We raised almost £7,000,” said Nick.
After seeing the difference Severn Hospice made to Kristin’s family, a team of friends got together to raise even more funds. As Kristin’s treasured place was Snowdon, they decided to climb the mountain, reaching the summit at sunrise. They raised almost £5,000.
Nick is unapologetically shameless about getting others to support us. “The charity is part of the fabric of our Shropshire community. The staff are outstanding; not of this world, they are a different kind of people. They supported me and my kids.”
He believes that the care Kristin received from the outreach and ward team gave them more time together as a family. “Without the home regime, Kristin would have gone earlier. The hospice gave her dignity and time and care like nothing else.
“Then the kids got to see Kristin in the comfort of her own hospice room, with beautiful surroundings – it was lovely. It supported those children immensely; they got to say goodbye. And because she wasn’t on a busy, noisy ward, Kristin was able to write to them and that was incredibly important, it wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
“I went through a lot of grieving during the illness, but the hospice was there for me. I still get calls. They haven’t stopped caring because Kristin has gone.
“We didn’t want cancer to steal our children’s childhood. And it hasn’t. It was Kristin’s wish for them to be okay. John is now even volunteering at the Severn Hospice charity shop for his Duke of Edinburgh award.”