New Perspectives: A Hike for Hospice by Rev. Heather McCarrel

         Photo by Photo nic chiro/Unsplash

It was late one cool September Saturday when my mother arrived to Hospice. She had one of those illnesses that crept through her body almost undetected until it was too late.  Once discovered there was a swiftness to her decline.  We had done all we could for her at home; rented the hospital bed, gathered in all the necessary equipment, shopped for the foods she could eat and where we could do no more there were these angelic nurses who arrived to do the rest of her care. She was a polite patient but not necessarily co-operative. By nature my mother was a very private and defiantly independent woman which, in the past, had bode well for her.

I recall my father, two brothers and I sat in silence while the Hospice staff settled her in. This was a silence of relief as we each began to relax from the weeks of emotional heavy lifting.  No longer were we the ones having to remind her to take her meds, rest, or use her walker.  Now, we could start to face our own grief and to be a gentler presence; a profound gift indeed.

It wasn’t the first time I had been to the hospice. As a minister I had sat by the beds visiting both parishioners and their loved ones.  I had firsthand experience of the kindness and dedication of the hospice staff.

So impressed have I been with the gentle but strong presence of this hospice that I am now counted among their staff.  It is with humble gratitude that I walk the halls as a Spiritual Care Provider, aka, a Chaplain.  I witness the dedication of all the staff from the remarkable clinical staff, compassionate kitchen staff, friendly cleaning/environmental services staff, well trained and warm hearted volunteers to the busy Management Team.  It takes an army to run a hospice and lots of Chapman ice cream!

It also takes a community to run a hospice.  That is why I was at Harrison Park on Saturday May 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the wrap up hike and BBQ as we rallied around Grey-Bruce Hospice Inc, known to us all as Chapman House. It was the first in-person Hike for Hospice in two years and was a day of fundraising and gathering.


Photo by Photo nic chiro/Unsplash