Hospice Heart Stories

Diane and Ruth's Story

To the Staff & Volunteers at St. Joseph’s Hospice 

There are simply no words to convey my thanks for your care, compassion, and kindness during my sister, Ruth Brown’s, stay at St. Joseph’s Hospice.  When it became apparent that her needs could no longer be met in her home, Dr. Kim asked her where she would like to go…. And her answer was, “I hear the Hospice is a very nice place.”  From the moment of our arrival I knew that her answer to Dr. Kim’s question was an understatement indeed!

A friend described the atmosphere at St. Joseph’s Hospice as one of “joyful sorrow”- a description that is certainly accurate, but incomplete.  Unbelievable and amazing would be a more apt description!  Throughout our six days of waiting, it was as if we were all “wrapped in a blanket of Love.” My sister lay peacefully in complete comfort, wearing a beautiful “snuggly” nightgown and covered in a pink quilt that has obviously been made by loving hands.  Her pain, nausea, and anxiety were completely under control.  Friends came and went and we chatted for hours, always including her in the conversation.  We visited, we laughed, we cried and from time to time, we wandered to the kitchen for a bowl of that wonderful homemade soup and a “sweet treat” also made by loving hands.

There are three memories of our journey through my sister’s illness that will forever remain in my heart. The first is the devotion of five friends who became “team Ruth” – friends who remained by my side and by Ruth’s side for hours upon hours for fourteen days.  I was never alone.  The second is the kindness of Dr. Kim who either telephoned or spoke directly with me every single day.  The third is the staff and volunteers of St. Joseph’s Hospice – angels in disguise and truly a taste of “Heaven on Earth”.

Ruth and I often talked about death and about how we would feel to be “the one that was left.”  Ruth’s faith and prayer life were at the centre of all of her activities.  We said if we had a choice, we would hope to “simply close our eyes and wake up on the other side” and that is exactly what happened on January 11th when Ruth’s earthly life concluded and her eternal life in Heaven began. 

We were more than sisters.  We were best friends and of course, I miss her; however, I am at peace.  She died as she lived – with dignity and grace……surrounded by love.  Words are inadequate, and I will be forever grateful to all of you.

Thank you so much.

Most sincerely,
Diane O’Dell