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Please take a moment to read this powerful story of sibling love, and consider  a donation  to St. Joseph's Hospice this holiday season .


Margaret sat patiently waiting near the reception desk at St. Joseph's Hospice. Though her eyesight was fading, her kind blue eyes remained fixed on the elevator doors. She had moved into Hospice just one day prior. The day was February 25, 2015 - less than a month after doctors discovered a tumour in her brain.

As people came and went through the hospice doors to visit their mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, Margaret kept watch by the elevator. Finally the doors parted and a very familiar face greeted her. There, being wheeled into Hospice to live his last few weeks in the room right next to her, was Marg's beloved brother Jim.

"Marg's face lit right up," said her sister Cathy. "She and Jim were where they were meant to be."

Marg & Jim as children 

Though Marg's journey to Hospice was swift, her brother Jim battled with liver and lung cancer for two years - a trying time full of doctor's visits, chemotherapy and radiation. Despite some successful treatments and operations, the cancer eventually spread. Before arriving at Hospice, Jim and Marg had been staying in separate hospitals on opposite sides of town. When her nurse found out Marg would be eligible to come to Hospice, she inquired whether Jim would be as well. Just a few days later, the siblings were sitting side by side in their hospice home, helping one another read the dinner menu.

"Marg and Jim were inseparable at Hospice," said Cathy. "They spent all their meals together. We never had to visit both rooms because Marg was always in Jim's."

Though Marg and Jim came from a family of six siblings, they were always closest with one another growing up, being only a year and a half apart in age.

"They were always kidding back and forth, even when they were both living at Hospice and quite ill," said Marg and Jim's eldest sister Dorothy.

Marg and Jim spent three weeks together at Hospice before Jim died on March 14. That day, Marg sat beside Jim's bed and held his hand while he took his last breath.

"What a wrenching moment that was," said Dorothy. "But it was so important they were together."

The day of Jim's funeral, Cathy, her husband Gerry, and Dorothy arrived at Hospice to pick up Margaret to bring her to the service.

"Her hair was all done up and she was dressed really nicely," said Gerry. "The Hospice gals really went out of their way to make her look and feel special."

Following Jim's death, Marg's health declined rapidly as the tumour grew. Her siblings knew she didn't have much time left, so they decided to look for Marg's children, who hadn't seen their mother in many years.

Marg's children arrived at Hospice on Good Friday - an emotional and unforgettable day for Marg and her family. Cathy and Dorothy cleared the room so the family could visit in private. Any nerves quickly dissipated as Marg's children - all adults in their 40s and 50s - comforted their dearly loved mother, and she them.

"It meant so much to Marg," said Cathy. "Her daughter curled up beside her on her bed and they all had a really good visit."

Marg's children would return to visit her several times up until the day she died on April 15.

Marg & Jim each had a framed copy of
this sibling photo in their Hospice rooms
(Top center: Marg, top right: Jim)

Two weeks later, they went on to walk in honour of their mother at the Hike for Hospice, along with Jim's kids.

For Marg and Jim's siblings, their journey with Hospice did not end after losing both their brother and sister. Their brother-in-law Bill spent just a few days at Hospice in May before he died. Bill had been like a brother to Jim and was very close with the family.

"It's been a rough ride but we got through it because we had to," said Cathy.  "If it wasn't for this place, I don't know what we would have done. We were able to have nice family gatherings and make good memories."

"I think that's what helped us over our sadness was the way we were treated up here," added Dorothy.

"It brought our family closer together," said Cathy. "I recommend Hospice to anyone who may be at that stage in life, and if anybody wants to donate, this is where they should."

Did you know?

St. Joseph's Hospice receives only 48% of its funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and relies on the generosity of its supporters to fund the remaining 52%, equivalent to more than $1 million per year.

It's a great privilege and honour for staff and volunteers at St. Joseph's Hospice to care for people like Marg, Jim and Bill, and to bear witness to such profound and moving moments in their lives. The holidays can be a difficult time for families and friends who have lost a loved one, or for those whose loved one may be spending their last moments at Hospice.

This holiday season, please consider a donation to St. Joseph's Hospice, so that we may continue to provide compassionate care and support to people in London and Middlesex County at no cost to them.

Your gift makes an immediate impact on the lives of those we serve. You can donate online by clicking here, or make a donation by phone by calling 519-931-3462.

With kind remembrances and best wishes for this holiday season.


Frank Angeletti
President, Board of Directors
Kimberley Chesney
Chair, Fund Development Committee

Thank you Cathy, Gerry and Dorothy for sharing your family's story.
St. Joseph's Hospice 485 Windermere Road, Third Floor
P.O. Box 1449, Station B, London ON N6A 5M2