Lifting each other up: a rooftop ceremony

Hospice is often described as a place of love. When blessings and vows were exchanged on the Rooftop Garden on a Sunday afternoon in May, it was never more so.

Kim Veness’s son, Andrew, knew his dad wouldn’t be able to attend his wedding. So, he brought the wedding to Kim at Victoria Hospice.

“Here I am at the end of my life, and I get one of the best days of my life – one of the most meaningful days of my life,” Kim said. “My son Andrew was born into my hands, and he gives me this wonderful gift on a sunny day as I’m dying.”

All Andrew asked was for Kim to give a blessing for him and his fiancé, Razan, at the ceremony. So, between rounds of medication, Kim wrote.

“I asked some of the staff to read over what I had written, because I wanted it to be just right, and my eyes are getting blurry now,” he says. “I felt I could trust them with something that deep and personal.”

Meanwhile, the team helped with some of the wedding details.

“Hospice has treated me so well and came right in – hammer and tongs – to help me pull off this one glorious day,” Kim said. “They could have all backed off and let us do it all – which they didn’t. They did everything they could with the resources they had available – and most of that was just simply joy. That’s the best resource.”

When it was time for the ceremony, Kim was ready to go up to the rooftop in his trademark Panama hat.

“The team helped me get dressed and placed flowers all around me.”

Andrew and Razan exchanged vows surrounded by family, friends, and a father’s love. 

Here is an excerpt from Kim’s blessing for Andrew and Razan:

“You choose happiness from the things that you experience that lift each of you up, inspire you and bring you joy and fulfilment. To find it, just pay attention to life, learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow, and never stop questioning and trying to grow.”