Living larger than life to the very end

“He lived larger than life.” This is how Becky McDaniel describes her husband Darryl who passed away all too soon at the young age of forty-seven on August 22, 2015.

For more than two years Darryl fought a courageous battle with cancer, all the time living every day to its fullest.

Darryl had a personality and an energy that people just gravitated to. A successful entrepreneur in the Food and Beverage industry, Darryl loved to gather his friends and family together and cook up a storm. This was in addition to his love of travel, curling and storytelling. But his greatest love of all was his family. Darryl was a caring and loving father to his six children ages seven to twenty-two: Sullivan, Olivia, Bailey, Christopher, Jessica, and Jonathon. All of whom have been forever touched by their fathers’ positivity, tenacity and integrity.

When Darryl’s time was coming near, he maintained his passion for life and the desire to live life to the fullest to the very end. Hospice care made perfect sense for Darryl and his family.

“We had never heard of McNally House until we spoke to Darryl’s palliative care doctor,” explains Becky, “and we are forever grateful to have this wonderful facility right here in our community.”

Darryl walked through the front doors of McNally House arm-in-arm with the love of his life Becky and eldest son Jonathon at his side. The McDaniel’s almost instantly felt a sense of peace in the warm welcome provided by the staff and volunteers. “At McNally we were just able to be ourselves, a family,” explained Becky. “I could focus on being his wife and spending cherished moments with Darryl, the nurses and volunteers took away all the stress.”  And Darryl could be himself. “He could wear his own clothes, listen to his favorite music, and the staff intuitively knew how and when to take care for any of his needs.”  The McDaniel children were also made to feel at home.  The volunteers and staff expertly knew what to say and how to support them through what is a very difficult experience for children to understand. Becky explains that Olivia and Sullivan’s experience has been so positive that they now look forward to coming back and visiting McNally House.

Although it was extremely difficult for the family to say goodbye, “Darryl’s death was as beautiful and as peaceful as one could hope for,” states Becky, “this wouldn’t have been possible without McNally House.”

Following Darryl’s death, Becky and their younger children continue to receive support from McNally through their bereavement support services. Becky is taking comfort by sharing her experience with others who have also suffered a similar loss.  “It’s so good to know that I am not alone in feeling the way I do, I couldn’t imagine getting through this without the help of McNally.”