Charlotte Lehmann was a caring mother and grandmother, a dedicated teacher and an active contributor to her community. As she excitedly approached her retirement, she received a life changing and life limiting diagnosis. While her three sons Erik, Craig & Keith provided and coordinated care for her in her home, there came a point where additional assistance was needed to manage her symptoms and keep her comfortable. After a visit to tour Chapman House, the Lehmann’s were relieved to see that the suites within Chapman House were nothing like a hospital or long term care environment.
Chapman House provided their family ample space to gather around Charlotte, the ability to bring in her own things from home, her own foods, and a place where she could watch her grandchildren play. Most of all coming to Chapman House allowed Erik, Craig & Keith the ability to be sons again rather than primary caregivers. Charlotte’s primary concern when she came to hospice was that she would have no visitors, but she was delighted to find that the comfortable setting at Chapman House made is easy for so many of her friends, colleagues and even some past students to visit her. “The space was warm and welcome. We made use of the extra bedroom many times and visiting at all hours was so convenient.” shared Keith. On her first night in hospice care Charlotte’s family were nervous about her getting settled and climatized in her new space. That night Keith slept near by in the adjoining room. He awoke suddenly when he heard Charlottes voice, he jumped to her aid only to find 3 hospice staff were already at her bedside. “You really don’t know the value of this kind of care. It is beyond that of any gift. It’s priceless.”
During her life Charlotte was an active painter of folk art and in the early 90’s created some of the very first displays that were part of The Owen Sound Festival of Northern Lights. Each year when the lights turned on, Charlotte would walk the path through the lights with her dog by her side. Knowing how much she loved the lights, her sons decided to honour their mothers life with a contribution to the festival. Charlotte was an advocate for welcoming new Canadians into her community , so it felt like a perfect fit to create a symbol of peace to memorialize her. The piece was designed by a local artist and friend of the family who created it out of driftwood from local beaches where Charlotte walked. Once the piece was installed the Lehmann brothers coordinated with the staff at Chapman House to arrange a surprise outing. One last visit to see the lights as a family and to show Charlotte the symbol of the legacy she was leaving for her family and her community. Taking advantage of the outing the boys also stopped by Sabriti’s restaurant for some of Charlotte’s favorite samosas. Erik recalls his memory of that day. “It was a big day, she was very excited and this was only possible because she was in hospice care. Chapman House is a really special place. We’d like to send a heartfelt thank you to those that provided our family this experience to be together. The care is unparalleled to anything in the health care system. She received the absolute best support and care at all times.”
Charlotte died peacefully at Chapman House on December 14th, 2019 but her memory will live on in the lives of everyone she touched and those that remember her as they walk the Festival of Northern Lights.