“We had one of those storybook marriages, that’s why it hurts so much, …” says Anne of her late husband, Mac, who died of a rare form of cancer two years ago. Anne, a nurse practitioner in Belleville, Ontario was married to her best friend for 39 years. Mac died just shortly before the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary.
Anne is a strong advocate of Hospice Quinte, who can’t say enough about Client and Volunteer Coordinator who helped her care for Mac when he was so ill. “I never would have survived without Hospice,” said Anne.
“The fact that you have someone who can come every day and understands death and dying makes what you have to do easier; they are compassionate; they’re trustworthy; and they’ve had enough training that you feel you can go and sit down, you can even have bath!” remarked Anne.
During a visit to the hospice, Anne commented that the hardest part about being the partner of a dying person is that you are so tired. As the primary caregiver you are up providing care at all hours. The practical help of a volunteer kept Anne going until the next day allowing her to continue with the day to day aspects of living.
Although Anne is devastated by her loss she manages to cope day-by-day using work and school to help her along. She credits the bereavement group at Hospice Quinte, for making the biggest difference in her new life.
“That group was the turning point for me. There were people who were just as angry as I was, who hurt just as much as I did. I found that I could sit down and talk to these women and they understood the way that nobody else could,” said Anne during our conversation.
We know that other bereavement group members second these sentiments, often relaying to us how grateful they are for the opportunity to bond and share with their peers.
As Anne summed up so eloquently, “Hospice helps you to die but they also help you live…”