More than a blood relation

Ashfaq Awan – Client – Palliative Services

The doctor said he couldn’t survive more than a year and a half. I always thought he had six months left, six months left, six months left. I was always stressed throughout this life. Whenever I needed help, she was there to help us. I always ask her what I could do for this problem or that problem and she’s always gentle and kind to us. It has really helped us come out of that stress. When you are all alone and there’s no one around you, my family was back home, and my husband was all the time on the bed, she treated us more than a blood relation that could console you. And she did that for us.

Click play to hear a full interview with Ashfaq’s wife below: 

It’s very simple. I just said, “I am there for you.”

Emmanuel Micallef – Client – Palliative Services

It happened. You can’t go back and change it… What is happening tomorrow, I can’t control it. So all I can control is today. It’s very simple. I just said, “I am there for you.” I said I am going to have my downs and my ups but I will always here for you. I have prostate cancer. I have arthritis in my knees and you know, these things happen. So like I said, I am here for you.

Click play to hear a full interview with Emmanuel below: 

My mother died a good death

Anita Stern – Nurse – Navigator – Palliative Care Team

We took them to a psychiatrist because at first, I thought maybe I am crazy. Like, what is this that I am searching for that I don’t have and that I believed to be different? The psychiatrist said, “Well, let me meet the children and then meet your husband.” So the kids came to the office with my husband at the time and she said to them. “Now, describe your mother to me. And now describe your father.” My second child said to the psychiatrist, “You see that book on the shelf? That’s my father. You see the paper scatter across your desk? That’s my mother.” And I thought, what a brilliant analogy! And so at the end of this conversation, the psychiatrist said, “So I hear you said you don’t really understand why your parents are together and that they are really so different that they would be happier on their own parenting you.” And that’s how it ended.

Click play to hear a full interview with Anita below: 

He wanted to die at home

Coral Konatowski – Client – Palliative Services

You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. I didn’t take that and use it very well. I wasn’t good at taking care of myself. I didn’t care for myself. It was more about him. You have to take care of yourself before you take care of someone else, you have to nourish yourself. You know you just have to be there for them. They go through all those stages and I think you do a little bit too. The anger and then the hurt, and you know this is going to happen, and then you don’t realize until they are gone. I think you get prepared for it too, so when he passed, I was very prepared so I didn’t even cry at the time when he was cremated. But it creeps up on you as time goes by. The loneliness and then somehow you just get through it.

Click play to hear a full interview with Coral below: 

She had to hold our dead son in her arms

Paula Paunic – Volunteer – Palliative and Bereavement Program – Pregnancy – Infant Loss

The husband at first was a little bit hesitant to share what he was feeling because he felt his grief wasn’t… He kept downplaying his grief, “My grief isn’t as important as my wife’s. She had to carry our son for 21 weeks and be induced and hold our dead son in her arms. I can’t even compare my grief to hers.” And it’s so important in this organization that we let men know that their grief is just as valuable and just as important and the journey of healing is important.

Click play to hear a full interview with Paula below: 

 

Whatever purpose I have in this world, I hope that’s the path I’ve taken

Jacqueline – Volunteer – Palliative Program and Day Hospice

I discovered that it’s not easy to visit the city in a wheelchair. So I started looking for ways. How can we make our visits different? And she explained to me one of her favourite things was going to the beach. And online I found the city has a place for wheelchairs on the beach. Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools, that’s where we went. I was able to transfer her to another wheelchair and we went to the beach. It was an experience for her. She hadn’t been on the beach for years. She hadn’t felt the sand. The moment we drove the wheelchair onto the beach, I saw her face change and I was able to get out of the wheelchair and she was lying on the sand. And yes, just her closing her eyes and making an angel in the sand, it brought me joy that she was so happy.

Click play to hear a full interview with Jacqueline below: 

Absolute lesson in surrender and learning how to receive

Chrystalla Chew – Palliative Care Coordinator

I broke my ankle in 2004 and it was really the first time in a very long time that I was on the receiving end of absolute kindness. Because I am good at being kind and taking care of others, but this time other people were stepping forward and taking care of me. The blessing of receiving such tender kindness from a retired nurse who would get up in the morning and drive over to my house, get me dressed, give me breakfast, and get me organized for the rest of the day because she knew my husband was overwhelmed and he couldn’t do it. I had no way to get up to go to the bathroom and the only person I could call was my landlady and she came and took me to the toilet. So it was an absolute lesson in surrender and learning how to receive.

Click play to hear a full interview with Chrystalla below: 

I swore the world owed me because I lost my loved one to homicide

Michelle Nicole – Client and Volunteer – Palliative – Spousal loss through violence

I used to play the victim role a lot. And I swore the world owed me because I lost my loved one to homicide. So the world owes me and I was going around like that and I didn’t even realize I was comfortable being the victim. And then they showed me my truth. It’s just something I won’t accept because I am not a victim. It is just something that has happened to me. And so here I am, I do a lot of work on gun violence as well within the community. And I can now because I am at a place where I can do that, but I had to help myself first.

Click play to hear a full interview with Michelle below: