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A beloved wife, mum, nana and friend
On November 24 2019, Linda Bryne Underwood, a beloved wife, mum, nana and friend, suffered a massive brain haemorrhage – completely out of the blue. Linda, who was only 66, collapsed suddenly at home in Hardwick and was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, where she spent the next two weeks in intensive care in the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NCCU).
Despite many hours of brain surgery and countless scans and investigations, Linda sadly never regained consciousness. This was a devastating blow for all of those that knew and loved her, particularly for the family members and close friends who sat by her bedside, day after day, night after night, over that long fortnight.
A warm welcome for Linda and her family at the Hospice
On Monday 9 December, Linda was transferred to the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge – a move enabled by the amazing palliative care team at Addenbrooke’s.
Although transporting Linda from Addenbrooke’s to Arthur Rank Hospice was risky, her family made the decision to try and get her to the Hospice for whatever time she had left. The resulting sense of relief the family felt was enormous.
Natalie Yates, Linda’s daughter, explains more:
“The care that mum received at Addenbrooke’s was second to none and the kindness shown to us by all NHS staff went above and beyond what anyone could ever wish for at the darkest of times. However, the warm, loving, homely environment at Arthur Rank Hospice was beyond compare. Mum left Addenbrooke’s on a cold, crisp Monday afternoon, travelling in an ambulance with her husband, Martin. I followed, in my car, driving the short distance in a heightened state of panic – unsure if she’d survive the journey.
When I arrived, a lovely man called John stood waiting for me at the door. I will never forget the words he greeted me with. Ushering me into the hospice, he said, ‘Hello, you must be Linda’s daughter. Come with me, she’s here and we are just getting her settled.’ From that moment on, the tears flowed and never really stopped.
Everyone we encountered over the next 23 hours was amazing: the nurses that put mum in a proper nightdress that smelt of washing powder; the doctor that wanted to know, first and foremost, who mum was, before discussing her medical situation; the lady that brought round the tea trolley with real cups and saucers; and the nurse that checked on mum throughout her final night and even sat by her bedside for a while to reassure me that she wasn’t on her own.”
Words will never be enough to thank all these individuals and the many others that make Arthur Rank Hospice such a special place. Surrounded by the kindness of the team we were able to start addressing the inevitable loss that we knew was coming. The warmth shown to us by the team made us confident that mum’s final few hours would be dignified, quiet, peaceful and the absolute best they could be, given such tragic circumstances.”
A short time that meant “absolutely everything”
Linda passed away on Tuesday 10 December at around 3:30pm, less than a day after arriving at the hospice.
Concluding, Natalie said:
“Mum was only at Arthur Rank Hospice for a short time, but getting her there meant absolutely everything to me. While she was unconscious throughout, and thankfully unaware of everything she had been through, we know she would have approved of the setting and loved everyone that looked after her.
As a family we will be forever grateful for our experience of Arthur Rank Hospice and to all the incredible people that work there. The people of Cambridge are so lucky to have this amazing service on their doorstep and I’d encourage anyone that can to donate to this incredible cause. As a family we will support Arthur Rank for many years to come.”
Linda, who always went out of her way to help people in her personal and professional life, will be missed forever by those that knew and loved her.