When I was recently asked to contribute to our blog I was hesitant as I’m generally a private person. Upon further reflection, I felt obligated to share my experiences and express how proud I am to have such thoughtful, compassionate caregivers standing beside me at Rose Hill Lane. This is my family’s experience. This is Lilly’s story.
Lilly, my husband’s grandmother, was diagnosed with progressive cancer. At the time she was seventy-three years old and living alone. My mother-in-law, Bonnie, and I took on full responsibility for her care. We were there every day and we alternated nights. However, as Lilly’s condition worsened and her medications became stronger, we grew increasingly concerned about her stability and the potential of her falling. Lilly’s care became overwhelming and Bonnie and I realized we needed help.
We decided to engage a team of professionals to ensure Lilly was receiving the full scope of care she deserved. Knowing that she was palliative made it even more urgent for us to return to our roles as daughter and grand daughter rather than caregiver.
The team we assembled- Njeri, Tanya and Olivia or as Lilly called them, “her angels”- cared for Lilly both at home and eventually at Douglas Memorial Hospital. They did so much more than administer personal and critical care- they managed to make Lilly feel pampered and special with outdoor walks, hair washing and sets, and special foot baths. Through out some of the most unpleasant stages of cancer, they brought an air of light heartedness, humour and strength.
After two years of battling, Lilly passed away. She was surrounded by friends, family and her angels. She met her end of life peacefully and with dignity despite all that she had endured. I firmly believe that engaging these talented and loving personal support workers greatly contributed to Lilly’s quality of life. They did so much more than they may even realize- they gave myself and the rest of our family the opportunity to be just that again, family.
I can never thank these three incredible women enough. They came together and provided my grandmother with immense support and love. They kept her laughing and in her typical bright disposition until the very end. She loved them like her family and often referred to them as such. To be able to focus on our family bond in Lilly’s last days, rather than her decline, is a priceless gift I will never be able to repay.
Over the last five months a lot of family’s made the difficult choice to postpone service as a precautionary measure and take on the role of caregiver themselves. As we instate new guidelines and adjust to new information, Rose Hill Lane is proud to be reconnecting and offering some of the same reprieve to them as I was so fortunate to experience. For many of our clients, schedule and routine are absolutely vital to their overall wellbeing. Rose Hill Lane takes great pride in being part of that process. Reminiscing on Lilly’s experience, I can’t help but be reminded that this isn’t just a job- it’s a calling. For those that answer that call, I am eternally grateful.
Anna Schmoll, Director of Care