A farewell party will give family, friends and colleagues the chance to say goodbye to a terminally ill grandmother of four who has spent her life caring for others.
Christine Smith, a nurse of more than 30 years, has just months to live after being diagnosed with an ‘aggressive and malignant’ brain tumour in January.
The party, which comes ahead of her 61st birthday at the end of the month, has been organised by her husband of 37 years, Jim Smith.
The 63-year-old said: “It’s a sad time, but she said ‘I don’t want any tears’.”
Jim described the last few months as a ‘nightmare ride’ after Christine, known as Chris, collapsed at work on the emergency floor at Worthing Hospital.
After an MRI scan revealed the cancer in her brain, Chris underwent a ‘huge operation’ but unfortunately the tumour could not be entirely removed.
When they heard her prognosis, Jim said the pair went to Peacehaven Fort together and ‘had a good cry’.
But he said Chris was in ‘good spirits’ and experiences both ‘good days and bad days’ with her health.
The couple met 41 years ago at a party and married on Valentine’s Day at St Mary’s church in Goring in 1981.
Jim’s job with the South Eastern Electricity Board then led them to move to Maidstone, where Chris gave birth to their children – Daniel, 35, Sara-Jayne, 33, and Toby, 32.
The family returned to Worthing in 1981 and, since Jim took early retirement aged 50, the pair have done ‘all sorts of things together’, visiting countries including Australia, Norway, China and Russia on cruises.
“We’ve enjoyed ourselves, we’ve done hundreds of things that maybe most people wouldn’t have done,” Jim said.
The couple have also enjoyed many ‘lovely trips’ together in their motorhome and had been planning to travel around England and Scotland for three weeks in the summer.
The family are hoping that Chris will be well enough to attend the christening of her fourth grandchild, Ivy, this weekend.
Her farewell party will take place at their Broadwater home at 1 Sackville Way on Sunday, May 6.
Jim is inviting friends and colleagues to attend from midday and spend some time with Chris, who he describes as having spent her life ‘caring for everybody else’.