COWICHAN HOSPICE NEWSLETTER | WINTER 2019 | VOLUME 10 | ISSUE 1
Thank you for opening your heart to hospice! It is so exciting to see Cowichan Hospice House under development, thanks to your gifts. Since the sod-turning ceremony in July, heavy machines have moved materials around the site, a huge generator has been relocated, drains and pipes laid down, and now, concrete footings are being poured! In the fall of 2020, Cowichan Hospice House will open its doors to offer expert care to help people live well at the end of life, with support for family members too. Your gifts have made this difference.
Thanks to you, people in the Cowichan region will have better experiences of care as they journey to the end of their lives. Family members will be
confident that their loved one is receiving expert symptom management in a private and comfortable room with garden views. People are welcome to make some soup in the family kitchen, bring a beloved pet for a visit or
to snuggle up with their loved one in the extra wide bed. As we look to the future, Cowichan Hospice will continue to meet the evolving needs of people in our community facing serious illness, caregiving and grief. Your gift to the Cowichan Hospice Endowment Fund is one way to build a legacy of care for the future. Thank you for supporting the future of hospice care in Cowichan!
President, Board of Directors
Annie & Jan GrootWassink Who will care for us at the end of our days? This question led Jan and Annie GrootWassink to the discovery that there were few options for end-of-life care in Cowichan, so they decided to do what they could to change that.
This is Annie and Jan’s story.
nspired by an advertisement seeking Dutch graduate students for Canadian universities, Jan and Annie GrootWassink made the adventurous move across the ocean to settle in Calgary, Alberta in 1971.
and Annie’s vast experience providing nursing care in a special care home for the elderly. Jan found great success with an enzyme product he invented that aids the digestion of animal feeds, and soon, with the help of a trusted business partner, a commercial venture was booming. In 2001, they made another great move, this time over the Rockies to settle in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
While Jan focussed on completing his doctoral studies in biochemistry, Annie worked as a daycare assistant for two years before receiving approval to resume her work as a Registered Nurse in Canada. She remembers those days fondly, recalling, “Together we had a meagre income. We were very, very thrifty, eating canned beans, lots of liver, and greasy ground beef.” Life would bring many blessings, including Jan’s 20 years working at the National Research Council in Saskatoon
They retired in 2014 and looked for ways to get involved with their community. Jan joined PROBUS, became involved with the Cowichan Symphony Society, and volunteers with LifeLine, setting up medical alert systems in people’s homes. Jan and Annie are planners by nature. As first-generation immigrants with no children,
planning for the final chapter of their lives became a priority. Motivated by the community’s need for a hospice facility and their own unavoidable end-oflife care needs, they became active participants in shaping the vision of the future Cowichan Hospice House. Recalling his first impressions of Cowichan Hospice, Jan shared, “They seemed to be compassionate people with a goal in mind. They were low-key, patient and family-oriented; communitybased. That impression hasn’t changed.” Annie and Jan have contributed to Cowichan Hospice House in many incredible ways; as steadfast supporters, determined advocates, and most recently, as major donors. Their significant gift to sustain care at Cowichan Hospice House ensures that this house will truly be a place to live well at the end of life. Thank you, Jan and Annie,
for your generosity and leadership.
Life after Tragedy: Rosalynn’s Story
n Mother’s Day, while visiting her grandmother’s gravesite in her hometown of Calgary, Rosalynn’s life changed forever. “My phone rang and it was my youngest brother. He just said, ‘Rob and Callie are no longer with us.’ ”
“I felt so comfortable with Marja from our first meeting. I have a lot of respect and love for her; she sat across from me for countless hours as a volunteer, listening to a very
Rosalynn’s thirty-nineyear-old brother and six-year-old niece had died earlier that day under utterly tragic circumstances. “Those first few days are a big blur. It was a lot of crying, going to bed crying, waking up crying. It was unbearable. I was constantly thinking of Callie’s mom, Deb. I can’t imagine what life was like for her and her family at that time.” After returning home to Vancouver Island, Rosalynn knew she needed support. She was connected with Cowichan Hospice and soon met with Bereavement Services Coordinator, Lisa.
again. I was really struggling with rumination; constantly replaying their final hours. “Marja suggested that every time I saw Callie in my mind in her final moments, to bring her a flower. In time, Callie became surrounded by flowers. A beautiful little angel in a room filled with beautiful flowers. That was an incredible coping tool.” Several months later, Rosalynn was invited to participate in a pilot grief group at Cowichan Hospice, specifically for those who have experienced a traumatic loss. She agreed.
difficult story. She has truly been a gift in my life and my grief journey.” Over time and through working with Marja, the impact of grief in Rosalynn’s life began to shift. Life was returning to a new normal.
“I remember my first meeting with Lisa, she was so great at providing space to hear the story about what had happened. It was hard to share, it felt very scary, just in terms of trust. But Lisa was so kind, gentle, and careful.”
More than a year after her tragic losses, the Coroner’s Office released further details about the deaths and in an instant, her grief was ripped wide open again.
After their initial meeting, Rosalynn was connected with Marja, a one-to-one support volunteer for weekly sessions.
“That was a major step back for me in my grieving process. Marja and I started to meet more frequently
But then, an unexpected turn.
Over a year and half after her losses, she finally felt ready to share her story with others.
The first few sessions were extremely difficult, but she kept attending with the hope that the strength and courage of others would help her find a way to move forward. “I decided I wanted to move forward with my joy. My desire was to heal. The pain of it is always going to be there but I’ve learned to live with it. “This group took my healing to a whole other level. I feel like I deserve to be happy and I deserve to feel joy, and that’s a new feeling. ” Rosalynn’s experience of loss will always be part of her story,
A Letter from Gord
but because of her bravery in doing the work to heal and thanks to your support, there is more room for joy in her life each and every day. “The pain of that loss isn’t the only thing in my heart anymore. It’s there, but there’s room for happiness too. I am so thankful for this place. I don’t know what I would have done without hospice, I honestly can say that I don’t know how I would be functioning right now. “Working with Marja also gave me the courage to stay connected with Callie’s Mom, Deb, and Grandma, Vicky. Those relationships are two of the greatest gifts that have come from this tragedy as they have been incredibly healing. I feel like Callie would be happy about us staying connected, too.” I asked Rosalynn if there was anything she wanted us to share with you, and here’s what she said:
Thank you for providing a space for me to become whole again, after being totally torn apart….
Your gifts provided comfort to many in 2019... Children’s Comfort Kits Because of your ongoing generosity, children in Cowichan who are grieving the loss of a loved one have access to a free comfort kit. Inside the handmade bags are age-appropriate books about grieving, colouring books and supplies, a snuggly stuffed animal, and more.
Your gifts made this care for Rosalynn possible.
By supporting hospice care in Cowichan, you are ensuring the opportunity for a healthy grieving for a child and their family.
Thank you for making this possible.
in the Cowichan Hospice Care Clinic “May everything that we do here today come from our heart centers.” These are some of the words that echo gently through the halls of the hospice office on Care Clinic day, while the volunteers prepare for clients to arrive. Every two weeks, the living room area of the Cowichan Hospice office is converted into a cozy treatment space for volunteer Reiki and Therapeutic Touch practitioners. It’s here they provide energy work to people in this community who are facing advancing illness, who are caregiving or are grieving a loss.
“During the time while I cared for my husband, attending Care Clinic was often the only time I’d take for myself. I would show up so completely drained, emotionally and physically, and at the end of the session I felt calm, nourished and able to show up for him again.” - Care Clinic client
“Take a nice deep breath and exhale everything that you don’t need, all the cares and concerns of the day.” When these dedicated volunteers arrive at Cowichan Hospice, it’s often with a flurry of excitement as they ready the treatment beds, carefully set up the sheets and pillows, and press play on the quiet, relaxing music. In the next room, the greeters ready glasses of water and tasty treats, preparing for their first arrivals. “Allow yourself a moment to feel this energy flowing into you, filling you up and flowing out.” But just moments before the first clients arrive, there’s a noticeable shift in energy. The door to the living room closes quietly, the practitioners and greeters form a circle and hand-in-hand, they begin a grounding exercise that sets the tone for the work that is about to begin. “Imagine this loving energy spreading throughout hospice and touching everyone here.” Your gifts make this healing work possible. Thank you.
you can make a house a home for generations to come
Help turn Cowichan Hospice House into a home away from home for individuals and their families by contributing to the Cowichan Hospice Endowment Fund What is an Endowment Fund? Cowichan Hospice has set up an endowment fund with the Victoria Foundation to permanently hold and invest funds for long-term growth. A percentage of the annual interest earned is paid to Cowichan Hospice to support hospice care at Cowichan Hospice House and in the community. Why is this fund established at the Victoria Foundation? Cowichan Hospice has established an endowed fund with the Victoria Foundation to capitalize on their expertise in investment management practices and their large investment pool. Cowichan Hospice also accepts gifts from personal endowment funds.
There are many ways you can donate to the Cowichan Hospice Fund, including: Appreciated Securities: You can donate appreciated publicly listed securities to eliminate capital gains and receive an immediate tax receipt for the fair market value of those securities. Bequests: After remembering your loved ones, you can designate a specific gift or portion of your estate to the Cowichan Hospice Fund at the Victoria Foundation. A charitable gift in a will is the easiest way you can provide a legacy gift and the donation receipt can be used to offset the taxes payable upon your death. For more information, please call 250-701-4242
Open your Heart to Hospice.
3122 Gibbins Road • Duncan BC V9L 1G2 • 250-701-4242 • 1-888-701-4242 cowichanhospice.org • email@example.com Cowichan Valley Hospice Society • Charitable Registration Number: 11887 8388 RR0001