Meet Dick and Barbara Maxwell
here was always a twinkle in Dick Maxwell’s eye, a bright grin and a ready joke or comment. He saw life as an opportunity to have a good time, and he seized every moment, playing and working hard throughout his life, surrounded with good friends and a loving family. He returned that love with loyal care, both to his children and to Barb, his high school sweetheart. Barb was young when they met, but Dick knew as soon as he saw her that she would be the girl he would marry, and he did, creating a beautiful life together for 66 years.
In the winter of 2017, McNally House became a continuation of that life journey. After a brief stay in ICU as a result of the effects of chemotherapy on his 90-year-old body, Dick came to the hospice. Barb says that even though she and Dick knew that he would be unlikely to leave, the atmosphere was kind and welcoming, with a team of “wonderful people who just make it work” and who take the time to create a home-like atmosphere that is just “so much fun.”
The holistic care at McNally House was able to put the twinkle back in Dick’s eye for a brief time and Barb recalled seeing him come back into his own. With a gentle smile, he fondly stated that “The whole team are miracle workers, so caring, so giving and so kind.” Dick spent his last days receiving the loving care that he spent his life giving out, with time and space for fun. The mischievous sense of humour that was clearly so much a part of him was celebrated by staff and volunteers, and created many joyful opportunities to enjoy. Dick lived his life to the fullest to the very end, holding court for hours with friends and family around the kitchen table. Together, Dick and Barb presided over a strawberry social, a Canada Day barbecue, and many other events, bringing everyone in the hospice from staff, volunteers, other residents and their families into their cheerful and vibrant circle.
Four months after Dick’s passing, Barb continues to visit her friends at McNally House. She finds peace and solace here, a place that feels “…more like home than my own home” and that she says “…gives inspiration for life afterwards for families.” Barb is firm and sure as she says, “When my turn comes, I will be kicking the door down to come in. Don’t even think twice, just come here, and be glad you are able to.”
McNally House makes sure to provide meaningful personal experiences for the residents and their families, recognizing that every person is an individual. Barb states, “it was a blessing to come here. I don’t know how they (the staff and volunteers) do it, but I am so glad they do.”
McNally House’s mission is to bring compassionate care to families like the Maxwells. McNally provides free of charge, 24-hour specialized end-of-life care to people living with a terminal illness, as well as those in their life circle.
But they can’t do it without you.
To continue to provide Niagara West the gold standard in end-of-life care and bereavement services, McNally House relies on the generosity of our community to help us raise more than $600,000 each year to cover operating expenses.