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Cheers to Shirley


Our mom has been here for a few weeks now, but we still remember the moment we got the phone call that a bed was open for her – we were happy, glad, and relieved.

We never thought we’d say we were happy that Mom was going to hospice, but we knew that at Hospice Halifax, she’d get the best care. She’d be the independent and loving Mom we know – she’d be Shirley.

Mom had several falls at home, and even after getting a Life Alert button, we were always worried she’d leave it on the charger and have another fall. We knew that at Hospice Halifax, my siblings and I would no longer be taking turns spending the night at Mom’s place, worried about her next fall.

We knew that Mom’s pain would finally be under control – something we all were looking forward to. Mom was hurting, and we could all see it. There’s something so unsettling when it comes to trying to manage pain when you’re not a nurse or a doctor – getting med dosage right, making her comfortable, making sure she’s not too groggy. We really tried.

But when she got to Hospice Halifax and the team here got her pain under control, we all took a long, deep breath. She doesn’t feel sick anymore because her needs were met.

It’s quiet here, and we are all at ease knowing there’s a team of people whose job is to make sure she’s safe. It wasn’t long before Mom was up and wandering around Hospice Halifax, saying “hi” to everyone. I’ve been told they all know Shirley by her matching lounge sets – usually pink, Mom’s favourite colour!

On one of her walks around, Mom noticed all the puzzles that are upstairs and thought of my brother. She grabbed a few to bring down to her room for him to work on while visiting. The team at Hospice Halifax was quick to rearrange Mom’s room, adding a new puzzle table. That’s something we’ve noticed a lot – they’re so good at creating space for us.

Right now, Mom is spending most of her time in her bed. She can’t walk anymore, which we know is tough for this independent woman we’ve known our whole life. But this is giving us a chance to sit and reminisce. We talk about growing up, about baking together, and all our family camping trips and birthday parties.

Just yesterday, Mom was telling us about the years they had a camper – driving up to Cape Breton most weekends. As she thought about these memories out on the island, she had a big smile on her face. She talked about one year they were camping and found themselves caught in a hurricane. Mom was ready for a swim, she laughed as she recalled Dad yelling after her – “C’mon Shirley or we’re going to leave without ya!”

And that’s what we’re doing a lot right now, sitting and laughing about adventures we’ve had over the years. Mom’s room is full of pictures from home, and we even have a little book for all her visitors to sign.

We’re incredibly grateful for the care and support that Hospice Halifax has given us. They’ve created this space and allowed for this kind of compassionate end-of-life care to exist in our community. Thank you. Your generosity could make a real difference in the lives of families facing similar situations to ours.

Thank you,

Lynda, Bruce, Sharon, and Patti

Hospice Halifax is a compassionate and supportive community of staff, volunteers, and donors dedicated to making dying and living as comfortable and as meaningful as possible at the end of life.  

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