Butterfly Release

On Sept 10, 2017 the Deaf Palliative Care Team invited the Deaf community to the beautiful gardens of the Hospice at May Court to share stories of loved ones who had died and to release monarch butterflies in their memory.

According to a North American Native legend:

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.

In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish.

So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

100 butterflies were woken from a refrigerated sleep, slowly warmed and given messages before being released. It was magical watching the wings unfurl and the butterflies sitting on hands and fingers that had been dipped in Gatorade, slowly sipping before taking flight.

Grief is the natural response to losing a loved-one and the Butterfly event was an opportunity to be with others who were grieving.

In bereavement there are often two words used – “grief” and “mourning”. They are different – grief is what happens inside. Mourning is when you take the grief you have on the inside and express it outside yourself, ideally in the presence of understanding, compassionate people.

Many people grieve, but they do not mourn.

The beauty of the butterfly helps us take our grief and mourn – to feel that even out of unspeakable grief, beautiful things happen. Many people felt surrounded by warm understanding love.

The butterfly event was made possible through the support of many volunteers, Hospice Care Ottawa and the May Court Club. Susan McKinley (a volunteer on the Deaf Palliative Care Team) along with her husband Henry, are volunteer gardeners on a team that works every Saturday from spring to late fall making The May Court garden a spectacular sight.

Hopefully our pictures share with you the joy of the day.


The Official Opening of the Glebe Centre Deaf Unit

On May 8, 2015, the Deaf community, representatives from the Lions Homes for Deaf People (LHDP), staff of the Glebe Centre and invited guests came together to officially open the Deaf unit of the Glebe Centre.

Deaf seniors who need Long Term Care can apply to the Glebe Centre and when admitted they will reside on a specially outfitted floor – the 4th!  

The overriding advantage is that Deaf seniors will be served together in one Long Term Care facility, thus decreasing their isolation and loneliness by providing culturally specific LTC for Deaf and Deafblind seniors.  A second advantage is that staff will be able to serve the needs of this group more effectively as the numbers of staff acquiring sign language skills and an understanding of the Deaf will create an environment of inclusion for the Deaf residents. When you are the only Deaf person in a facility, the isolation you feel is pervasive. There is little incentive for staff to learn your language.

A culturally appropriate Long Term Care setting is a setting, within the existing LTC system, that understands the needs of Deaf and Deafblind persons would have staff and volunteers trained in sign language, and would provide sign language interpreters and interveners as needed, through the CHS or Sign Language Interpreting Associates Ottawa (SLIAO) and CNIB. Having Deaf friends and other Deaf people living in the same “home” and staff able to use ASL (American Sign Language) would make the “golden” years truly fulfilling.

After speeches by Lawrence Grant, Executive Director of the Glebe Centre, Susan McKinley, Deaf community representative, Lions members, the city Councillor, David Chernushenko and Chantale LeClerc, Executive Director of the LHIN, tours of the home were provided followed by refreshments.

The hope is that Deaf seniors will take up to fifteen of the thirty-two beds on the Fourth Floor, known as Queenswood.