How you helped Cheryl celebrate Halloween in July

A letter from Todd Cave to Victoria Hospice’s Inpatient Unit Counsellor, Michelle Dale.

August 23, 2018

Dear Michelle,

I will forever be grateful to you, and to everyone at Victoria Hospice.

My sister’s memorial service was last week, but I’m doing well…really well, actually. This whole process, being at Hospice, made it easy.

I don’t know if I told you this during Cheryl’s care, but we started calling Victoria Hospice the ‘Land of Yes’ because everything that we asked for, the answer was always “yes”.

That day that she was feeling good, and I asked you if we could get her out of the unit for a while, I thought for sure you’d tell me no…or at least that there’d be a whole long process and paperwork around everything. But by 11AM the Hospice team had us out the door.

We took a taxi to Oak Bay Marina and drove along the waterfront…we saw the cruise ships, the inner harbour, and all the beaches. I have photos of her in the back of the taxi that day, and I’ve included one with this letter. Cheryl was so excited, and it was just fun. That’s a memory that I will always treasure.

On the unit too, the Hospice team was just so accommodating.

For Cheryl, Halloween was a big, big deal. She and her friend Cara would sometimes do up to 200 jack-o-lanterns a year, so I was so grateful when you let Cara come in and decorate Cheryl’s room. The skeleton, the tombstone, the witch, the orange fridge…I admit, I found it all a little creepy, but Cheryl loved having her room dark with just the Halloween lights on. You would have thought it was October 31, not July, but Cheryl really enjoyed it.

I think when people find themselves in these kinds of situations, myself included, there’s this naïveté that they can provide all the care for someone, but you can’t be on 24/7 to care for someone else. You want to do the best for your sibling, but you’re still just one person. I truly believe that being at Hospice allowed Cheryl and I to have all the conversations that we had. Without your help, we would have been at each other more, frustrated about her pain and care.

You gave her the ability to have dignity, to be safe, to feel loved, and the knowledge that if there was ever a problem Hospice had her back. What you did for her, I could never say thank you enough. I know she felt that way too.

I bumped into one of your nurses the other day at Save On. She was there with her husband and daughter, but I just needed to go over to her and give her a big hug, and to tell her husband how much I respected his wife.

It’s a calling to work at Victoria Hospice. You’re a special breed. My hats off to you all and thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Todd Cave

The compassionate end-of-life care Cheryl received would not be possible without people like you. Donations fund our counsellors to work with families, special trainings to help nurses relieve pain, special equipment to keep patients comfortable, and so much more. To make a donation that will touch more lives like Cheryl’s click here.