Grieving Sussex mum fights back after the deaths of two of her children in separate tragedies
A mum left devastated following the deaths of two of her children has fought back from the depths of despair.
Tina Montague’s world fell apart in 2016 when her 28-year-old daughter Stacey died from skin cancer.
And she was slowly picking up the threads of her life when her 19-year-old son Piers was killed in a car crash almost two years to the day after Stacey’s death.
Tina hit rock bottom. But she has since gradually picked up the pieces and is now determined to help other people facing life challenges.
“Stacey and Piers have inspired me. Both of them,” she said.
Tina, who lives in Broadbridge Heath, has launched a new firm - Cancer Care Company - to give counselling and support to those receiving a cancer diagnosis or relatives coping with the shock and fear that accompanies it.
Tina, who has a career in care spanning more than 20 years, set up her own company - Care Comfort Company - in 2007 and qualified as a registered care provider.
Her daughter Stacey worked alongside her and between them they employed up to seven full-time carers and six part-time. and their services were recommended by GPS and district nursers.
But it was in December 2015 when things took a tragic turn. Stacey was diagnosed with terminal melanoma - a stark reality to Tina and Stacey as their medical training left them both knowing the only outcome.
Tina continued to run the company throughout Stacey’s short battle with the invisible killer ravaging her body while also supporting Stacey at home in Southwater.
“I concentrated on ensuring Stacey had the support she needed and fulfilled any dreams she could manage as her condition deteriorated, including a full white wedding within ten days and a honeymoon night a week later.
“She walked to the car to get there and was carried out by her new husband.”
Stacey came home from that honeymoon night and asked her mum to take her to the hospice where she died on June 5 2016, aged 28 and leaving her husband a toddler and new born baby.
The following March, in 2017 - Stacey’s birthday - Tina relaunched Care Comfort Company and again the business flourished.
Meanwhile, Tina taught Stacey’s younger brother Piers to drive, a bonding for them while they grieved and he passed his test first time with flying colours.
Then on June 12 2018, Tina had just arrived home from a week break when police knocked on the door - Piers had been involved in a road crash and died at the scene.
Tina says she “hit the floor at full force” and needed hospital treatment for her mental health and suicidal thoughts.
But, eventually with the correct therapy and support from professionals, she was able to begin to live life again.
Her main focus now is to still help others facing what she has faced herself “to give them the best possible days for the rest of their lives.”
She has updated and increased all her training, including palliative care, to launch her new company. “Care is my expertise,” said Tina. “I have heard so many stories from people who are agonising for support but it’s just not there.
“If you are diagnosed with cancer you need support from the moment of diagnosis, along with other people in the family.”
For Tina herself, her new business is giving her a focus after all the heartbreak.