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Dorothy Ley Hospice

Marion's Story

By Marguerite Langley, Case Manager                                                                                    
Fall 2000

When I met Marion, she was 76 years old, struggling to prepare for imminent death from complications of liver disease, and very concerned about Rolly.

Having been told by health care professionals that she was dying, Marion was troubled by conflicting thoughts and emotions. What Marion wanted was straightforward: she wanted to die at home, with peace of mind and in the company of Rolly, her 30-pound, four-year-old gray tomcat with an attitude.

Marion's social worker at the Etobicoke Community Care Access Centre suggested that The Dorothy Ley Hospice might offer support. At that time, along with Rolly, Marion's care team included a case manager from the ECCAC, social workers, nurses, homemakers and members of Marion's family. The Hospice joined in by providing advocacy, networking and volunteer support.

Shirley was the first client support volunteer to become part of Marion's care team. They hit it off immediately. She and Marion shared a love of the same foods, and as Marion weakened, one of the last treats she enjoyed was sharing sushi which Shirley brought to her.

As Marion's needs grew, our Hospice team also grew to include seven people. Marion often mentioned how safe and protected she felt.

Rolly's patience was tested by all these new faces. He would occasionally hiss and swat his tail as he passed us by. But at our final case conference, Rolly sat high on his perch, overseeing the proceedings, as Marion gave half a dozen of us directions for her funeral and burial.

In her final days Marion told us, "I am at peace with myself now, I am ready to die. I don't want to hear talking or to be disturbed by questions." All of us quickly adopted hand and eye signals to accommodate her request as she waited for her death.

Marion had her wishes fulfilled. She died in her apartment, in great peace, with Rolly close by.

Epilogue: One of Marion's nephews adopted Rolly; he's doing very well, thank you! 


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