End of Life- Two Journeys

A quote from his obituary illustrated the essence of Murray Chambers: “Throughout his life, Murray found passion in caring for others.”

It was fitting that he spent his final days at McNally House Hospice. The care provided at McNally House, was well known to Murray and his family. Maureen, his wife, was admitted to McNally in 2017. During this time, Murray and his family, were fully supported by the staff and volunteers, who focused on Maureen’s physical needs while they were able to focus on saying goodbye. When Murray was admitted to McNally in January 2020, he knew that the support and love that he had received there as a family member, was there for him as a resident. For both Murray and Maureen, their stays at McNally House proved to be “an amazing ending to a difficult road” said daughters Kristi Chambers and Stephanie Ryckman.

Kristi and Stephanie reminisce about Murray’s last weeks. A lover of music, his room at McNally contained his favourite ukuleles and guitars. His grandchildren could come and jam with “Bumpa”, as he was affectionately called. Arthur Loik, Psycho-Spiritual Clinician at McNally, brought his guitar one day to play while Murray conducted.

Murray loved car racing. Upon hearing this, Shara McLaren, Art Therapist at McNally House, designed car-shaped cards so visitors and staff could write notes for Murray. A “Grand Prix” style race track was built in his room where visitors could challenge each other to trips around the track. When Murray jokingly said that he would like a bubble bath the nursing staff surprised him with bubbles in the tub while playing Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged”!

Murray’s room was filled with pictures, music and family banter. Visitors were made to feel at home with hand-knitted slippers, snacks, soup and a warm fireplace to sit by when not with Murray. Murray didn’t love the role of patient and expressed this openly to staff who kindly reassured him that it was his turn for care. Everyone became extended family: staff, volunteers and some family members of other residents. Everyone was included, open conversation was welcomed. When Murray’s time at McNally House came to an end, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was playing, his finger still keeping the beat.

From Murray’s obituary: “This (McNally House) incredibly peaceful and loving place, took us under wing, for which we will remain ever thankful.”