article originally published in the Cowichan Valley Voice, December 2016.
Love stories are at the heart of hospice stories.
For Geoff Norris, his love story began in England during the second World War, when he saw a Canadian woman he’d met before, standing at a railway station. “…I went five stations past my stop and saw her home… the best move I ever made.” They were married, moved to Canada, and raised two children.
Allan Scott was living in Victoria and at the time, didn’t know his love story had begun with getting to know his neighbours, who would later become his parents-in-law. When he met their daughter, Gillian, he proposed to her in a way that reflected his profound love and dedication: with a friend parachuting into their backyard, delivering a note, “Will you marry me?” Life has a way of bringing people together, and for both Geoff and Allan, life was just beginning.
Many years later, the two found themselves at Cowichan Hospice, learning to process the profound grief that came from losing their wives. Both utilized wellness treatments through hospice’s Care Clinic, as did Allan’s wife before she passed, and later came to find support in the shared experiences of people in the grief support group. “You would hear experiences of other people and you could relate to them,” says Geoff, and Allan agreed, “… Sometimes I felt strong, other times I didn’t, and you would hear these stories from other people…”
The support they found in the grief group continues through their friendship today. They attend events together, go for coffee regularly, and Geoff has even offered to babysit Allan’s dog, Barney. “We support each other, and Geoff and I did that all the way along. When we were driving for coffee, sometimes I know we would tear up, and we laughed too – everything. All different emotions,” says Allan.
As grief does not follow a prescribed timeline, Cowichan Hospice provides support to individuals at any stage in their grief journey. Our one-to-one support, wellness treatments, and support groups are offered free of charge and are available to anyone living in the Cowichan region. To learn more about Cowichan Hospice and our services, please visit our website at www.cowichanhospice.org or give us a call at 250-701-4242.