She had recently returned from managing a home care system in the Middle East so was familiar with aspects of the work, but not directly with Hospice care. However, she feels strongly that she is in the right place at the right time. “Walking that last path with a patient and their family is a privilege, but it is one that demands a great deal from the carer,” says Marguerite. “One gives a lot in this position; the work can make one sad, irritable and tired – but at the same time one gets a lot back!” After a long day visiting patients, Marguerite enjoys gardening or quilting as a way to restore her soul.
Marguerite concedes that while she has fully come to terms with the fact that death and dying is a natural part of life, she does get affected when patients her age and younger die. It has brought home to her the reality of how short life can be, and has taught her to value the time she has and to take care of her health and well-being. “It is not always easy to answer the questions my patients and their loved ones have, but I made a rule to myself to always be honest and tell the truth. From my own experience, of losing my late husband, I know what it is like to be kept in the dark. Even if it is painful and difficult, honesty (supported by empathy) is very important. If I don’t know the answer to their questions then I will find out and tell them” says Marguerite.
Marguerite works in the Gordon’s Bay and Sir Lowry’s Pass area, taking the special care of Helderberg Hospice to all who face the challenge of a life-threatening illness.Like all members of staff at Helderberg Hospice, she values honesty and compassion, integrity and care, while appreciating the little wonders found in every day life which bring joy and fulfillment.