Life is a journey and it is LOVE that makes the journey worthwhile.

This message is displayed on a plaque in a meeting room at McNally House Hospice where Anne Marie Jenkinson and Linda Hand sit to talk about their journey at McNally House.

As friends they have shared so much of their lives: knowing each other’s families, singing in a choir, belonging to a walking group and volunteering at McNally House Hospice.

Now, they share a journey of grief.

Anne Marie’s husband, Paul, was a resident at McNally House in July of 2023. In September of the same year Linda’s husband, Doug also became a resident.

The common aspects of their friendship are quite remarkable. As volunteers at McNally House, Anne Marie and Linda are both part of a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who provide compassionate care for residents and their families. Then in 2023, they both became intimately acquainted with this compassion and caring. With their husbands now as residents, Anne Marie and Linda were no longer volunteers but family members.

Anne Marie and Linda were asked how being a family member of a resident dove-tailed with that of being a volunteer at McNally House. Their individual responses became a duet of similar comments. Having been volunteers, they each knew what to expect when their husbands entered McNally House. They knew the building and the ebb and flow of routines. They knew the staff members and many of the volunteers.

They knew the quality of care and the incredible amount of compassion and comfort that is brought by these dedicated people. They realized what a tremendous impact all of this makes on residents, their families and friends.

They knew the love in the journey and that there is life in every moment.

Knowing all of this was of great comfort to both Anne Marie and Linda. Each of them could now experience being a wife again, no longer having to assume the role of a caregiver. Along with their husbands and their family members, they could experience the peace, as well as the joy that is so much a part of McNally House Hospice.

Anne Marie and Paul and Linda and Doug were treated with kindness and thoughtfulness, dignity and respect as they travelled their individual journeys through end-of-life and now as they entered into the next phase of their life without their husbands.

Anne Marie and Linda want to share their experiences of McNally House Hospice with others who may never have been in a hospice setting as a family member or friend of a resident.

They want people to know that a hospice is not a place of death, but, in fact, very much a place of life. The phrase, finding compassion in the moment, is exactly what life at McNally House is all about. No moment is ever too small and nothing is ever too much for staff or volunteers to offer.

It is all about life as a journey and it is LOVE that makes the journey worthwhile.

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 resident we care for at the hospice, there are at least five family and friends who 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.

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