Kelly and John's Story
My experience with Hospice has been so fantastic for my family and me. It prolonged my Husband’s happiness and ability to stay at home with comfort. On the day of John’s diagnosis, my Dr. said, “you need to go straight to Hospice now.” So off I went, and I was welcomed, tears and all, with open arms.
Hospice has been and always will be a safe space for me; I have cried there, laughed there and been at peace there. From past experiences, I have seen how people react to losing a loved one and how those around them behave. Until John died, I never really understood it, grief. Everyone has a different experience, some people want counselling, and some just want to talk or someone to do art with. That’s what I found at Hospice; they are so adaptable and have options to help everyone in their grief. I can’t think of a better place to be; people at Hospice just understand you.
Going through my husband’s diagnosis and receiving Hospice and Palliative care for two years was really an extraordinary journey. It was one that made me fall in love with him all over again.
John was a social adventure seeker! He was a professional musician, a pilot, a fisherman, and in his final year, an artist. He really could do anything. Going through a debilitating illness made him crave other ways to use his creativity. After losing the ability to hold his guitar, and with the help of the Hospice’s Art Therapist, he turned to painting. “Is it a Hospice art day?!” was his daily question. John really found his calling in Art; he even found a love for Bob Ross! He thrived in Art Therapy and always looked forward to seeing everyone at Hospice. They would always ask us, “would you like a drink of anything?” and John would say, “No, but maybe a cookie…?” He brought joy to everyone he met, especially the staff and volunteers there, and they reciprocated with exceptional care.
Without Hospice, I think I would still be in my bed crying. After John passed, I went months without help but realized I needed to go back. It was the missing piece of my circle of care, John’s had been so complete with Hospice, and I needed that too. If you have lost a loved one or are going through a palliative diagnosis, you must see Hospice. I definitely think they need more support and funding, though, and I fully believe in everything they do.
John and I had a wonderful life together; we got to experience so many beautiful journeys, Hospice being one of them.
-Kelly, a Hospice Client
My journey with the Campbell River Hospice Society started after the sudden passing of my sister; it was unexpected and hit very close to home. She had passed in her sleep from a heart attack, just a few years after I had also suffered a heart attack too. “Why not me?” I kept asking, “why did I survive and not her?” This question made the loss that much worse. I’ve lost many loved ones through traumatic circumstances in my life but had never been offered support until being guided to Hospice, and I’m so glad I was. The help I received there has kept me sober and kept me with my wife and kids.
When the police officer came to see me for a wellness check after my sister’s passing, we talked a lot, and he admitted that even he had not seen the level of loss I had. Back in the 70s, there was nothing, no help that I was aware of, no Grief Support or Hospice Care. This time the Police officer introduced me to Hospice, and for this, I am ever grateful to him. Without their support, I would have lost everything. Throughout my life, I experienced the loss of siblings, co-workers, friends, and family members, all with no clinical support.
Another one of my sisters died from an aneurysm in a remote logging camp as I carried her to help, my brother lost his life to suicide just a block away from my house, and I’ve had to dig co-workers out of fatal mudslides. After my brother passed, his son died of an aneurysm; his daughter also lost her life to suicide. Just like that, a whole part of my family was gone. After my brother’s passing, I lost another sister to cancer just a few months later. 1977 is when I lost my best friend in a car crash, I was supposed to be in that car. I was a mess afterwards with survivor’s guilt. He was going to be my best man in my wedding, I still think of him pretty much every day. Traumatic losses like this don’t go away; they never will, but with time it gets easier. The recent loss of my sister brought it all back, though. At Hospice, there was no judgment. It didn’t matter that my losses were in the past; my Hospice Counsellor helped me with them all. I received care for not just the loss of my sister but for over 30 years of traumatic grief I had been dealing with alone. The added fact that Hospice provides all its services at no cost also meant that my family and I wouldn’t have the financial burden of finding and paying for clinical counselling.
I had my family for support to keep me going before Hospice. But if there were services back then like there are now, it would have certainly made it easier for my family and me. If you’ve had a loss, phone Hospice! Phone them, and don’t bury your losses and grief! My family members have come to Hospice, too, and our care has been life-changing. If you’re thinking of supporting or using the Hospice’s services and programs, don’t wait.
-Ed, a hospice client