Dana Hamilton has generously gifted to the Grace a beautiful stained glass window for the Chapel in loving memory of his father Robert Hamilton who passed away on our palliative care unit in 2014. This piece of artwork will be placed in the Chapel for all to enjoy. Thank you Dana for thinking of us.
(Left to right receiving the artwork is Patti Pilon, Director of Giving, Dana Hamilton, Cherry Pond and Major Marie Hollette, Chaplain)
Here is Robert’s end-of-life journey as shared in our 2012/13 Annual Report.
My name is Robert and I’m 85 years old. I have advanced prostate cancer, which has now spread into my bones. For a long time I was treated as an outpatient, which allowed me to stay at home. However, on one of my routine visits my home care physician assessed my condition and realized I could no longer live at home with my wife, Marion. I was admitted to the palliative care unit at the Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC) in December 2012.
From the moment I arrived, the nurses and the staff have provided excellent care. They are attentive and compassionate, always ensuring that I have what I need. Every day the nurses ask if I’d like to take a wheelchair ride around the premises or to the roof garden for a breath of fresh air. If I need a shave, they will provide one; they ask if I’m comfortable, or how my lunch or dinner was – the food is good. If I do need something, they always answer the call button. I like to say “abracadabra” after I push the button, because a nurse always magically appears.
I think my son, Dana, is glad I’m here at the Grace. He’s a florist, so he knows all of the hospitals, and he has come to know the Grace’s reputation for delivering quality patient care. He sees how well they treat me here. Most days he comes by in the morning and helps me with my breakfast; he usually tries to help me with dinner too. Sometimes we talk, but often we just sit quietly.
It’s good to have his company. But, I really miss Marion. She’s not able to be here with me every day, so I phone her six or seven times a day. I’m worried about her, because I love her so much — we’re a couple of pals. I look forward to seeing her on Sunday’s — that’s the day she comes to visit, that’s the day I’m the happiest. We sit and spend the time talking about anything and everything, but mostly memories. When she leaves she always gives me seven separate kisses, one for each day she is not able to see me, and one for the day she’s here.
Sharon, the chaplain at the TGHC, also comes to visit me. She is wonderful. She knows I look forward to singing with her. We always sing a favourite song, one my mother loved very much. My voice isn’t as good these days but that doesn’t stop me. Together we sing “Where He Leads Me I Will Follow.” The song has been with me all my life. Before Sharon leaves, we always say a prayer, and then she asks me if I’m ready to follow when God calls me. I say, “Yes, but I’m waiting for Marion.”