Honouring a life with a beautiful death

Jan 13 • Letters to the EditorNo Comments on Honouring a life with a beautiful death

Sir: When the Chatham-Kent Hospice opened, we were anxious to see the new facility – never dreaming that my darling husband, Gary, would spend his last 10 days in this beautiful place.

Gary suffered many bizarre illnesses during his life and he cheated death many times.

Even with the difficulties of his illnesses, we celebrated life. In June 2019, we had a lovely party with our four children, 14 grandchildren, family and friends to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, my retirement and my 70th birthday. Gary sang a special song to me at our wedding, and he sang the same song at our anniversary celebration —just three weeks before he passed away.

When Gary’s condition started to deteriorate quickly, the visiting nurse felt I could no longer care for him at home. She suggested Chatham-Kent Hospice. He was admitted to a beautiful room a few days later.

For 10 days, I was able to rest while the most compassionate, caring, wonderful staff took over all of the caregiver responsibilities, allowing me to just be a wife. The staff were amazing in their willingness to do anything to make Gary’s last days the best possible.

The nurses, support staff and volunteers catered to Gary and to our entire family as his last hours came closer.

Gary’s little puppy, Dash was allowed to stay on Gary’s bed for the entire stay, which brought him comfort.

Gary breathed his last breath just minutes after the cocoon he had been given on admission opened, revealing a beautiful butterfly that flew off towards heaven – followed by Gary’s sprit.

The next few hours were precious as we said our final goodbyes in a beautiful farewell service held in the Reflection Room. Prayers were said, hymns were sung and family members, including the grandchildren, lit floating candles before we escorted Gary to the front door, passing an honour guard.

Our memories of those 10 precious days will be with us forever. Thank to every single person at Chatham-Kent Hospice for your dedication to making death a beautiful experience.

Sherrill Kivell

Chatham-Kent

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