By Marguerite Langley, Case Manager
When I met Marion, she was 76 years old, struggling to prepare for
imminent death from complications of liver disease, and very concerned
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
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!