Through a daughter’s eyes…

Most people want their mothers to experience the best of what life offers and the daughters of June MacCarthy were no exception to this rule. Susan Tidman describes her mother June as an active woman who was charitable and community driven. She loved competing on the curling rink and cheering for her grandson as he competed on the Valley Wildcats hockey team. At age 87 June was still interested in gardening and hosting family events.

Through 2021 June’s health started to slip. While she had help in the home, June’s daughters became increasingly concerned about their Mom’s care and her ability to mobilize. A member of the Valley Hospice care team came to the house to discuss the Hospice with June and her daughters. They were surprised to learn that palliative care is not just about the last days of a person’s life, it is about all the “planning, exploring options, and sharing information” that helps the individual and their family members to make the best possible decisions about the care of their loved one. Susan commented that this “new, improved approach to palliative care” was not about the “death’s door experience” but rather about engaging everyone in a planning process.

In August, June’s daughters supported her decision to move to the Hospice. Everyone wanted what was best for June and, “we felt from the beginning that the Hospice was a five-star facility”. “We loved the suite where Mom lived, we liked that we could stay there with Mom for as long as we wanted, and we appreciated the chef coming by each day to ask Mom what she wanted to eat. We had total confidence in everyone who worked at the Hospice”. “Perhaps the best thing of all” commented Susan, “was that we didn’t have to be Mom’s caregivers anymore, we were freed to be her daughters”

“Everyone enjoyed the fact that Mom’s patio door could be opened to welcome the late summer breezes”, and that June’s potted flowers from home could join the colorful flowers found just outside the door. “We loved the tranquility, the sun, the flowers and the birds”

June died at Valley Hospice in October of 2021. As the staff formed an honour guard for June, Susan said that she saw tears in people’s eyes, “The caregivers in Valley Hospice have a real relationship with the residents- the care was simply off the charts!”