Continuing Bonds with James

“When I saw the portrait, I wasn’t sad and it didn’t make me cry. It felt like he was standing in front of me again.” Eleanor, James’ wife

Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds is a collaboration between St Oswald’s Hospice and Local Artist, Leanne Pearce. Working with 12 bereaved and pre-bereaved families who have accessed our bereavement support service and/or other care services, Leanne has created stunning paintings of their loved ones to support them in their ‘continuing bonds’ process. Here is the story of one of the families who took part in this unique and beautiful project.

Eleanor met James later in life at the local supermarket.

“He worked on the customer service till and we got chatting. Then one day, he asked if I wanted to go for a drink.”

Eleanor was reluctant at first but James was persistent and she eventually agreed. A few months later, James proposed and the couple married a year later in 2010.

According to Eleanor, the couple enjoyed “a quiet life, happy in each other’s company”, until James started to feel unwell.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016.

James was referred to St Oswald’s Hospice in November 2017 and died 3 weeks later with Eleanor by his side. He was 70.

Eleanor who describes the hospice as “a second home”, has been receiving 1:1 and group bereavement support at the hospice since James died.

“Grief really affected me and without the support of St Oswald’s Hospice over the years, I don’t think I would have coped,”

Eleanor, James’ wife

Eleanor has also joined the hospice’s choir, which she describes as “therapeutic”, and performed at the Light Up A Life memorial event last Christmas.

When she saw her husband’s portrait, she couldn’t believe how well Leanne had caught his likeness.

“I wasn’t sad and it didn’t make me cry. It felt like he was standing in front of me again.”

Our care: Adult Inpatient Service, Bereavement Support

Visit our Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition

Opening during Dying Matters Awareness Week, Portraits with Purpose: Continuing Bonds exhibition will be on display at Newcastle Civic Centre 10th – 17th May, 2024 (exc Sunday) on the following days and times:

• 9.30am – 4.30pm weekdays

• 10am – 3pm Saturday

There will also be a special Meet the Artist event 11am – 2pm on Saturday 11th May.

Find out more about the project and read other families’ stories below.

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