Victoria Hospice joins with the family and friends of Denise Sturmwind to grieve the loss of this exceptional and compassionate person. Denise died in September, 2023.
She joined Victoria Hospice as an administrative volunteer in 2012 and was a deeply valued member of the Bereavement Services volunteer team since 2018.
Denise was known for her comforting and gentle presence, and expressed compassion and care through skilled listening and a willingness to bear witness to others’ experience of emotional pain. She was motivated to serve as a bereavement volunteer after receiving support from hospice after the loss of her parents.
She worked closely with one of our bereavement counsellors during the period of greatest pandemic restrictions. Her regular supportive phone contact with an isolated senior was a crucial element of the care plan for the family, and allowed the bereavement team to extend their service at a challenging time. Her committed involvement was instrumental in helping them avoid crisis and find a way forward in healing.
“I felt I could ask Denise to take on this important steadying and supportive role during a period of great need, with full confidence,” Sue McKenzie-Mohr says. “The significance of Denise’s phone calls was made clear to me repeatedly over several months, because every time I spoke with the individual to whom Denise was offering support this senior stressed how much they valued and appreciated their conversations. She was a deeply valued member of our bereavement team.”
Denise was committed to lifelong learning about spirituality, dying, and death. She participated in many hospice courses and independently sought out additional learning through the Sacred Art of Living and Dying program, along with many other aligned areas of study. She brought a great depth of knowledge along with compassion for others.
“We are deeply grateful for the many ways Denise impacted people’s lives through her volunteer service at Victoria Hospice,” Sue says. “Our thoughts are with Denise’s family and loved ones, as we hope their memories and love offer much solace.” Denise was remembered and honoured for her exceptional service at this year’s Victoria Hospice Society’s Annual General Meeting, along with other volunteers who received Lifetime Honorary Memberships in the society