Saying Goodbye – Your Home, Your Life, Your Choice
Marj and Bud Berry always had a welcoming home.
Marj would stand in the window waving at the kids walking to and from school. The kids waved back. The Berry home shone a welcoming light on the entire neighbourhood.
The Berry family home stood in the centre of the Carlingwood community for decades, always busy, always filled with love and laughter.
This made it easy for everyone when they decided Bud would spend his last days surrounded by the love of home and family.
In 1994, Bud had a recurrence of cancer and his doctor gave him up to a year to live with more treatment. Bud preferred not to have treatment, deciding to enjoy his remaining days without chemo.
It was then Bud was told he had between six to eight weeks to live.
The family sprung into motion. They focussed on keeping Bud home, where he could live his final days in the place he loved, surrounded by people who loved him.
“My brothers and his friends, who were cops and firemen, were loading Dad in and out of our van,” recalls Bud’s daughter, Sue Prior. “They helped get Dad to the cancer centre to say goodbye to his doctors, nurses and fellow volunteers.”
The following weeks were filled with visits, laughter, joy and tears. The challenge of caring for a palliative patient was made easier by devoted nurses and personal support workers who cared for Bud like he was their father.
“We were fortunate to have occasional home help and daily nursing care to help with his meds and manage his night issues,” says Sue. “Friends and family helped fill the gaps so that mom could also maintain some of those friendships and outlets that help someone so much when coping with grief or loss.”
“Dad was very calm the last two weeks. On his last day, we knew that morning the end was near.”
When Bud slipped away, the family called the funeral home to make final arrangements.
“When we phoned the funeral parlour, Tom Flood, the funeral director, showed extra compassion telling us they’d come after the kids and family had a chance to say goodbye to Grandpa in his own bed, as had been our wish.”
Even though she knew Bud had passed away, his day nurse came and helped Sue and her mother get Bud ready for his final journey.
“When the grandkids came, Dad was in bed in fresh pyjamas,” remembers Sue. “He was in a familiar place with familiar people. We ordered in from Golden Palace. It was one more family event that we all shared together.”
“Palliative care at home gives you the chance to say goodbye when someone you love crosses the boundary from life to death,” says Sue.
“For my Dad, home is the place where he was happy. It was where his kids were happy. It was where his grandkids were happy.”