Hello, my name is Jackie and I am a retired research and policy analyst and live with my husband in Ottawa, Ontario. I have one daughter who will graduate from university this spring. We have experienced many losses between us, the most significant ones being both of our mothers and my Dad.
As the primary health care contact/caregiver for my parents, I journeyed with them during their illnesses to their death. Being the only sibling in town, it was a task passed to me by default, but I was honoured to have been able to be their advocate for their care and a source of comfort and support to them in their final days. I was fortunate enough to meet many amazing support workers, nurses and physicians who provided outstanding treatment and care to both of my parents in their last days. Our family did not feel alone and were grateful for their care and compassion, especially when we needed it most.
During the many days and nights that I spent at my parents’ bedside, I learned some of life’s hardest lessons. No time in our lives do we feel so torn apart than when we suffer the loss of a parent. At the same time, experiencing that part of life with them changed me. Moving forward, I am hopeful that my experience as a daughter and caregiver will be something that I can pass on and make a difference for someone else having to transition through the end stage of life with someone, be they a spouse, parent, sibling, extended family member or friend.