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Mohammad Kaikati, aged 34, came to the Hospice Bistro to meet with Virginia Goode, Communications Officer in February 2023. Mohammad works for Panther Taxis and following the success of them raising over £26,000 as Charity of the Year in 2022, he offered to share his personal connection to the Charity.
With a hot cup of coffee in his hand he started to recount the story of his Grandma, Janet Litchfield, who died in February 2022 and was cared for by the Hospice at Home Service.
“My Grandma was an amazing, loving, caring woman who held our family together. She insisted on us all meeting every Sunday at her house in Cambridge for a roast dinner.
As a child I would often spend the whole day at the weekend with her, or for a sleepover, and sometimes with my cousins too. We would go to the park and always go back for something to eat – food was a big thing for her. As well as a Sunday roast, she loved to cook a Thai Green Curry too.
As I got older I tried to explain that I had other things to do, such as playing football, but she always made sure we got together. She would pick me up after my match and take me back to her house. Family was everything to her.
As a young adult, my girlfriend, Emma, and I lived with her and Grandad for a year. They used to have students to stay and when we were thinking of living together she invited us for a trial run at hers. Emma loved her too.”
The last days
“With the help of the Hospice at Home team she was able to stay in her own home with Grandad. In her last days we were all at her house [me, Mum, Aunty Sarah, Uncle Stephen, cousins Stephanie and Elizabeth, and my three year old son, my brothers Abdallah and his partner Katia and their three year old son, Omar and his partner Arina and my sister Saphia]. On the day she died we decided to cook dinner and have a big family meal. 30 minutes after we had finished eating she died. We were all there – the house was packed [just as she liked it].”
Mohamad explained that this was not his first big loss. His Dad, Hussam Kaikati, died suddenly when he was 47 years old and Mohammad was only 21 years old. Hussam had an operation at Papworth Hospital. Whilst he was recovering he travelled to Austria and, tragically, two days later he died of a heart attack.
“My Dad was my hero. When we were young I always think of Mum being the caregiver and Dad being the provider. Dad worked hard but would always give us his quality, family time at least one day a week.
As we got older we would travel with him and get some one to one time. We would go all over the world visiting friends, many who Dad had met through business. We lived in Dubai for a while when I was ten years old.
Dad loved to drive, sometimes Mum would fly over in a day and Dad would take the long route round, in the car and we would meet her a week later.
Everybody loved him. Even now people say to me “I love you because of your Dad.”
My Dad taught me many qualities; to be a hard worker, not to be lazy and to provide for my family.
Dad loved Grandma and Grandma loved Dad. Mohammad explained that at first Hussam had to prove himself to the family. Grandma and Grandad were a bit worried as Mum was only 18 years old when she married Dad. Hussam was from Syria and they were worried about Mum moving away but that changed as soon as they got to know Dad.”
“We weren’t expecting to loose Grandma first. Before Grandma was ill, Grandad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and didn’t want to know how long he has left. They used to joke about it; Grandad would say “Turn that light off it’s costing money, and Grandma would say “I thought you would be dead before me and you wouldn’t have to worry!”
Grandad first noticed something was wrong when Grandma started to forget things, such as putting potatoes on the stove to boil without water. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2021. They told her she would need an operation or she would only have one/two weeks to live, so she did. She was able to walk and talk soon after and she kept going to the end.”
What difference did the Hospice at Home Service make to you and your family?
“It takes a special person to do the job they do at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity – they always go the extra mile. The way they talked to my Grandma was amazing and to my Mum and Aunty and Uncle too. They brought comfort to the family, they were so helpful and caring and I can’t praise them highly enough – and this is coming from the heart. I visited my colleague at the Inpatient Unit too and they pay attention to every detail.
I would do anything to help the Charity, I have never heard anything negative. This is why I wanted to stay in touch. I have a collection tin on my desk at work and pushed Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s name forward when they were choosing a Charity to be nominated for Charity of the Year.”
Virginia concluded by thanking Mohammad for sharing his personal story and for helping Panther Taxi’s raise over £26,000 for Hospice services.