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Children's Grief Awareness Week: "My brother was the strongest and bravest man I knew."

Porsche's brother Karl died earlier this year, at the age of 28. Porsche has bereavement counselling with Esther Gwynne, and has chosen to support Grief Awareness Week by sharing her experience... 
Porsche and her brother Karl (cropped)
Karl-TownleyHello, my name is Porsche, I'm 15-years-old, I'm local to this area and I have support from Saint Francis Hospice. The reason why I have support from the hospice because my brother died and he used to go to the hospice for treatment and days out. 

My brother was the person that died and if I'm honest it still doesn't feel real. He wasn't only my brother but he was also my best friend. His name was Karl, he always put everyone before himself; that just shows what kind of person he was. 

When I was at a young age (9), my brother had quite a lot of hospital appointments to go to, which my mum went to, too. However, at such a young age I didn't know what hospital appointments were about. It was a year into having all these hospital appointments and my brother had a scan done which found a tumour on the bottom of his spine. He ended up having a 9 hour operation to try and get all of the tumour out, but they did say it wasn't possible to get it all out because it was in such a difficult place. The tumour was wrapped around the bottom of his spine, which was close to all the nerves - nerves that if they were touched then they could paralyse him; that's just how serious it was.  

After a year he then found out it was the terrible word (cancer). Another year went by, he was still the Karl I knew. Then it was 2012/2013 when he had a check-up at the hospital, that told him the tumour was back, but was life-threatening. There was nothing the doctors could do, they gave him two years to live. 

At such a young age knowing my brother only had a few years to live was heart-breaking.  
My brother went through so much in those two years. He ended up being on crutches because he couldn't walk properly like everyone else. About 7-8 months went by, he ended up in a wheelchair, he kinda couldn't really walk as much. Then two months before Christmas he went into hospital for 8 weeks, he was in there all over Christmas; I spent Christmas Day at the side of his hospital bed. 

He ended up losing all his ability to walk and as a family we decided he should go into a 24 our care home. All the carers loved him, he became very weak and was unable to undo stuff like bottles. 

He went through six years of pain. Unfortunately, on May 9th 2015 he died.  

Karl-TownleyMy brother was the strongest and bravest man I knew, I was so happy I got to call him my brother. 

I do all kind of work with Esther, but mainly we talk. We sometimes do this 'card thing' that has questions on, such as 'what's your biggest fear?'. 

My favourite part of the sessions is just being able to talk to someone that can relate to what I am going through. It makes a lot of difference, it helps you to get everything off your chest. 

The hardest part of my sessions with Esther was when she asked me about my brother and I just broke down and said: "I feel as if I didn't say bye to my brother because when he was dying he wasn't the brother I know."    

I think of Esther as like an older sister or a best friend, we have a great bond. 

If you're nervous about having support from someone like Esther, don't be she is there to listen and not judge you. I would recommend counselling because it's a great thing and it does really help you. Esther is so down to earth and such a caring person. I always tell my friends about Esther and they say how she seems so lovely.  Saint Francis Hospice isn't about patients it's also about children, don't be scared to ask for help.

Karl Townley, rest in paradise. 01/03/1987 - 09/05/2015. 

If someone you love is receiving care from Saint Francis Hospice - or has done in the past - do not hesitate to contact our Family Support Team to see how they can support you.