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Stories

The hospice experience touches people at many levels. Below are some stories that people have shared. If you’d like to share your hospice story, please tell us about it. We love feedback, and others may benefit from hearing about your experience. Send your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Here are some of the people who have been touched by the programs and services of the Beth Donovan Hospice:

Remembering Murray Campbell

In loving memory, to a cherished friend and colleague

I knew Murray Campbell for only a year, but in that short time, he made quite an impression on me. He was 89 years old and working for Beth Donovan Hospice as our Treasurer. I found him to be a true gentleman, generous, kind, friendly, and so smart, always keeping up with the latest in the accounting software, which was at times, a real challenge. He and I would trade stories on many subjects; our beloved dogs, the military, and even how to make a good soup. Murray C. birthday1Murray could always make you feel as if what you had to say, mattered. Even when working on a particular problem, he always handled it with humour, asking for advice on the phone and then meticulously carrying out the directions he was given. He always got to the bottom of it and never let it get the better of him. He taught me living lessons that I will not soon forget.  

The following is a biography from his daughter, Diane.

"Murray Campbell lived in the Kemptville area for almost 30 years, most of his retired life. He and his wife Mary were known to many, being involved with Holy Cross Church and many other organizations in the region.

Murray was born in Montreal and lived there most of his childhood, with the exception of the depression years when he and his younger brother, Bruce, went to live with relatives in New Brunswick, when his father lost his job. He was a WW11 veteran stationed in England as a Sergeant in the Canadian Army.  He returned home to his job as a draftsman at Dominion Engineering in Lachine. He met Mary Cleary in 1946 and they were married the following year.
Together they had two daughters; Linda, born in 1948 and Diane in 1951. Various pics of 2011 - 2012 016

Throughout his life, he had a great love of learning, including the forever-changing world of technology. Murray's life was not without its difficulties. For many years he suffered with depression and tragically lost his brother at the age of 42. His daughter Linda, battled breast cancer for many years which led to her death at the age of 52. In addition, he provided support to his wife who had to deal with both breast and thyroid cancer for a very long time and he himself was a prostate cancer survivor. Throughout all of this, his faith in God and his love and committment to his family and his community were unfailing. 

He retired from Dominion Engineering in 1982 and he and Mary moved to Oxford Station in 1984, having discovered the area while camping often at the Rideau River Provincial Park. As many have witnessed, they were inseparable and both became entrenched in their new community. Murray volunteered as a member of the Finance Committee of Holy Cross Church and was Treasurer of the Kemptville and District Home Support for over 25 years. In 2009, he was the recipient of the North Grenville Senior's Civic Award. He later became Treasurer of the Beth Donovan Hospice.

Murray and Mary were married for 63 years and at the tiime of his death had 4 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. A sixth great-grandchild (and his namesake Connor Murray) was born in November 2012. Murray lost the love of his life in April 2011 when Mary's illness finally got the best of her. He continued his work with the Hospice even through this very difficult time.

He passed away in January 2012 but he will live on in the hearts of his family, friends and colleagues forever."

Birthday Group Shot2

Family & Friends joined Murray for his 90th Birthday

 

Beth Donovan (1943 - 2010)

My journey to hospice began many years ago. As a new grad from Brockville General Hospital in 1963 I started my nursing Career in the Operating and  Recovery room of St Francis General Hospital in Smiths Falls. I never in my wildest imagination would have believed I would end my career in Hospice Palliative Care which was unheard of in those days.

Beth Donovan 2On slow days in the Operating Room I would go to either Maternity Floor or Surgical Floor to work to keep up my skills as a bedside nurse. I would be so troubled to hear my terminal patients plead to be allowed to go home to die.

From Operating and Recovery Room I went to The Stepping Stone Nursing Home because with small children it was impossible to be on call for long surgical procedures. Terminal patients at the Nursing Home always were sent to hospital to die and once again I saw people beg to stay home for their final days on this earth. At that time I promised myself that if I ever had the chance to do something to help grant a person’s wish to be at home or in a home-like setting to die I would do it.

"Our Joanie" - a special thank you

Dear Staff and volunteers of Beth Donovan Hospice, Kemptville, ON

 

I have been lamenting on how I am going to write this “thank you” letter and the words to use.

Thank you “just doesn’t seem to do justice to what the children and I want to say.

For those that met and helped “Our Joanie” please know that hearts were so full at her end. Your support while she was in Kemptville Hospital and throughout her transition to our home was paramount to having her pass not only with dignity, but where and how she wanted to, here at home with her Yorkie, Charlie, and I right by her side.  

Some of you may know, most may not, but Joan Haineault was 81 years old, feisty, full spirited, strong willed, blue eyed, red haired tiny Irish spit fire of an amazing woman. She was widow and lived on her own prior to be diagnosed mid July 2012 through the Ottawa Hospital with lung cancer again. This time, however, the cancer had spread througout her body and it was agreed by all parties herself and her medical team that “treatment” moving forward would be to keep her comfortable and give her quality of life. Joan Hainaeult 3

Over the past 6 years I have not only been her primary caregiver but she was one of my best friends.   She was a grandmother figure to my two children and it was my daughter that coined her “my Joanie” hence forth moving forward she was known to many as “our Joanie”.  We had spoken over the years that as she had no close family support she would come live with us when the time came .

That time came far sooner than we all ever imagined. I am a single mother of 2 and work 3 jobs. All “our Joanie” wanted was to come home………

You have no idea how this broke my heart as I just couldn’t see how I could make this happen. My children begged me to find a way. We had Charlie her yorkie that she missed terribly and they could see she was miserable in hospital. We were able to get her transferred from Ottawa to Kemptville so at least we could go see her at least twice daily. And every visit she would look at me with those big baby blues and plead with me to “please bring her home”   She at time yelled and screamed. It was awful. She was not living she was merely existing and slipping into a deep depression.

CCAC couldn’t give us the hours I needed to cover all our home care needs as even cutting my schedule back to part time wasn’t enough, I still had to work. You can’t imagine the look on “our Joanie’s” face when I told her there was just no way I could bring her home. A light went out of her eyes.

And then Laura (volunteer coordinator) from Beth Donovan Hospice saw Joanie for a visit. They could offer us help; have someone come sit with Joan for those hours I just couldn’t get covered. We didn’t have the financial resources’ for private care.  There were still many things to get organized but a “CHEER” went up!!!!! thanks to the support from Beth Donovan Hospice “our Joanie” could come home!!!!!

A Letter from June

 A Client's sister says thank you to hospice

Flower borderI wanted to write a note to let you know how much hospice means to families such as ours. My sister was in care at the hospital for a very long time. Longer than she ever expected. No one wants to be there. No matter how cheery the staff, it is still impersonal, it is still not home.

In acute or short term situations families are often able to be present as support, but when a patient is in long term care, and when family members are thousands of miles way, or those in the vicinity are working long hours at their jobs, and in general tending to their own unavoidable demands, there are inevitably long hours when the confined loved one is is very much alone.  For us, to have the hospice volunteer come in every week was a godsend.

Barb was so warm and joyful, and she truly paid attention to the particulars of our family. I would make a special tea for my sister when we were in Kemptville, and Barb took it upon herself to learn how to make it so that she could bring a thermos for my sister when we were back home in the North Bay area. She learned that my sister enjoyed mystery stories so began a story which they shared each week, both looking forward to the next chapter. My sister was delightfully literate, and when Barb would come across a word new to her, my sister would always know the word, so that it became an affectionate joke as Barb would stop and tease "oh I suppose you know what that means", and of course she did. I know that my sister must have loved their time together sitting outside in the warm summer air, hearing a new chapter each week.

Upcoming Events

21 May 2019
10:00AM - 12:00PM
Spouse & Partner Loss - Grief Support Group

21 May 2019
01:00PM - 03:00PM
Caregivers Coffee

21 May 2019
06:00PM - 07:30PM
LIVING WELL with a Life Altering Illness

23 May 2019
10:00AM - 03:00PM
Day Hospice Program

26 May 2019
12:00AM
Hike for Hospice

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Contact

1107 French Settlement Road,
Kemptville, ON, K0G1J0 

Phone: 613.258.9611
Fax: 613.258.9651
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