Mariposa House Hospice: Honouring Every Moment of Life

By Press Release

At Mariposa House Hospice our vision is “honouring every moment of life”. Since becoming a staff member in June 2022, this statement has rolled through my mind while in our setting here at 1140 Brodie Drive and has settled into my personal daily reflections as well. What does it look like to honour every moment of life in a building that is caring for community members who have very few “moments” left to live? What does living each day to the fullest mean to those of us who are still walking a relatively healthy life?

After over a year of being part of this amazing, empathetic team at MHH, I realize more each day, that this vision hangs above all of us. There is a greater purpose to our lives than recognition, than who attained notoriety or wealth, than who gave more, or whose name is in the news or what awards we have won. We leave a legacy behind us of how we lived in the small moments when no one was watching, how we treated others, what our attitude was towards others and how we honoured the gift of “life” in general.

Bob-Dianne-outside

People have asked me, “isn’t it sad to work in that environment?”, or “how do you work in a place that death happens regularly?”. My common response has been that we as a team take each day at a time for each resident at a time, for the life that they have left to experience here. Do we experience sorrow, and sadness, especially for the loved ones that we are caring for who are left behind while their family member or friend moves through their last weeks or days or moments? Yes of course we do. We have a personal and moving ceremony we offer to each family called “the walk of life”. Once the resident passes, one of the caring teams from the local funeral homes usually come to take the person from our house. The family are offered the opportunity to honour their loved one by playing a meaningful song while they follow the hand-made-quilt-draped stretcher down the resident hall, through the reception area and out the front door to the waiting vehicle, while any staff & volunteer in the building line the hallways. This short journey is an emotional one for all and brightened only slightly in the moment by a beautiful, stained-glass butterfly lamp that sits on the nursing station and stays lit for the resident with their name beside it for a 24-hour period. Hugs are given, sincere condolences and special moments experienced with the resident are shared with the family members and then it is back to work for the residents who are still residing with us, or perhaps coming soon.

We have five rooms in our hospice and have cared for over 280 residents and their loved ones since opening in February 2021. Rooms 1 to 5 are why we are here, why we exist to give comfort and care and have those conversations to discover a little bit about the life of those who call MHH home for a short time. In 14 months, I have heard similar comments over and over by the residents and their loved ones, such as, “I wish we had come sooner”, “this is such a beautiful, peaceful place”, “your staff are the best and go above and beyond what we need”, “my _____ is so comfortable and at peace here”, “we will be telling everyone about what wonderful care we received here”, and “we can’t thank you enough for all you have done for us”. This. This is the “why”. This is how we honour every moment of each life that we are privileged to care for and get to know, even for the briefest of time.

Mariposa House Hospice is a 5 bed, residential hospice located on 1140 Brodie Dr, Severn, nestled in the woods of a beautiful 2.5-acre property, we provide round the clock clinical care by our RN, PSW and administrative team and reception volunteers to the resident and their families. Our services are no cost to our residents and divert services from the hospital and long-term care, who regularly do not have beds available. Learn more at: https://www.mariposahousehospice.com/