In Their Own Words

When we think of health care our focus is on the patients — the sick and the dying — and the medical teams who provide care to them. Their caregivers, who are usually their loved ones, are often ignored. We sometimes forget the toll the illness, the caregiving and the eventual loss, takes on them.

Yet they are there, throughout the entire process, from beginning to end. And when the patient is finally at peace, the family’s journey begins anew — shifting from being supportive and caring to trying to cope with sadness, grief and sometimes even anger and frustration.

Despite the emotional pain, caregivers do it willingly. Because ensuring their loved ones have a peaceful and dignified end of life is a desire everyone shares; and it’s seen as one of the most rewarding duties they can ever perform.

It was with this in mind we set out to talk to several family members who had recently been through the experience of caring for a terminally-ill loved one. In total we had conversations with 20 individuals. Thirteen of those stories can be found in the book shown to the right.  In addition, some families were willing to be filmed, to share their stories with you in a more personal way. Those videos can be viewed here.

Their stories are powerful, profound and poignant. Although there are some similarities in terms of the difficulties they encountered with the Ontario palliative care system, they each faced their own specific trials, tribulations and triumphs.

We thank all the bereaved family members who met with us and had the courage to share their stories. Each and every one is a reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.


A Caring Voice – a collection of Caregiver Stories