Judy Yaromich had the most magnificent smile. Everyone commented about this throughout her life. Her smile lit up a room, even when she was nearing the end of her life.
Judy was a woman who cared deeply about people. As a wife, mother, sister and teacher, Judy had incredible compassion and care for others. How fitting then, that she spent her last days at McNally House Hospice, where compassion and caring are the essence of all that is done.
Melissa Fournier, Judy’s daughter, heard about McNally House through various local newspaper articles, social media and through Hike for Hospice. Once her mother became a resident of McNally House, Melissa was totally amazed at the extent of the kindness and thoughtfulness shown to all residents and their families by staff and volunteers. Being able to engage as families instead of full-time caregivers, added precious moments and memories to the last days of their loved ones’ lives.
Judy was so happy to be at McNally. She knew that she was being cared for and that no request was too much, even her request for “mock margaritas”! Her “travelling companion”, Spike, a large stuffed dog, held a place of honour in her room.
Judy loved the programs offered at McNally; the visiting musicians on Wednesday mornings, and completing legacy art therapy projects with her family. Judy loved being wheeled outdoors in her bed to the patio outside her room. So, she could enjoy the beautiful gardens, the birds at the feeders and the summer breezes. When in her room, being able to smell the aroma of cooking wafting from the kitchen, especially cookies and soups, made her feel like she was “at home”.
Judy briefly experienced the “McNally Rally”, a term lovingly coined by the staff, to describe the improvement in quality of life some residents experience after admission. For Judy, this resulted in gaining strength and feeling more engaged. She felt better and looked better. That beautiful smile radiated!
Judy often said, “You don’t have to be the best, just do your best.” The staff and volunteers at McNally House strive for excellence in all that they do. They want the best for their residents and for their families. Melissa spoke of this so many times in her interactions at McNally House. The warmth and heart-felt caring that her mother, Judy, and all of Judy’s family received, will never be forgotten.
Judy passed away peacefully in an atmosphere of love. When Judy left McNally House, the family chose Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah as the music for her leave-taking. All the staff and volunteers formed a procession to follow Judy, Melissa, and her family. Melissa felt so supported and so thankful for the care, compassion and respect that Judy had received and that they too received, right to the very end.
Judy lived life to the fullest and this continued during her stay at McNally House.
At McNally House Hospice, we feel privileged to provide compassionate, person-centred care to not only our residents but to their family and friends. For every one resident we care for at the hospice, there are at least five family and friends that will require our support.
In addition to provincial funding, which supports a portion of our nursing costs, more than $1M is needed annually to ensure the hospice residence and all other community programs remain available.
But, we can’t do it without you.
In this season of giving, we invite you to support McNally House Hospice
Written by Rosemary Addison