Michelle: A story of passion

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Memories transport me back to the historic winter storm of ’77-’78, a young teenager who left home to study nursing at Fanshawe’s Victoria Campus. It was a tremendous education, with opportunities to learn in world class hospitals, shaping my life forever.

After nursing in Victoria’s Trauma Centre, Tom and I returned to Chatham to raise our four children (one now an ER nurse in Toronto). Working part-time in Emergency, I also studied theology and worked in pastoral ministry, eventually coordinating an education program in the new area of Parish Nursing. Appreciating the importance of whole person care and the link between spirituality and health, I became very interested in palliative care. After publishing two books in this field and speaking in many great venues, I am now excited to be working as Director of Hospice Services for a new residential hospice being built in Chatham-Kent.

“Dying is a personal experience – not a set of medical problems to be solved” (Dr. Ira Byock), and my passion is to help those who are facing loss and end of life to be able to live as fully and comfortably as possible, in order to die well and to grieve well. Maybe that storm of ’77 left its mark on me as I try to help others face the storms of their living and dying with grace and gratitude.

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