“During our stay at hospice, Crystal and our family received tremendous support.”

The below story was written in collaboration between Crystal’s husband Shea and our Donor Relations Coordinator Amy McConachie

My wife was a remarkable woman named Crystal Parker. At the age of thirty-nine, Crystal received devastating news – she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. This news shook her world and that of our loving family. Crystal was a young mother and wife, and the thought of leaving her loved ones behind was unbearable.

In the beginning, hospice was not something Crystal had considered. She had always been a strong and independent woman, determined to fight through any challenges that came her way. However, her health took a drastic turn for the worse just after Christmas last year. She found herself in the hospital, fighting for her life. The doctors told us that she was no longer able to receive treatment and to consider hospice care for her comfort and support during this challenging time.

attack & family
Brodie and player
mold #2
Crystal & Brodie
Crystal party

In January 2023, Crystal entered Hospice, and we were unsure of what to expect. But little did we know that this would become a turning point in her journey. Despite her illness, Crystal rebounded and began to enjoy many great days with our family. Chapman House provided her with the care and support she needed to focus on being a mother again. 

As Crystal’s family, our son Brodie and I were her world. With hospice by her side, Crystal could finally let go of the worries about who would take care of her and the daily struggles of being a terminally ill cancer patient. She could cherish precious moments with her boys, creating memories that would last a lifetime.

During our stay at hospice, Crystal and our family received tremendous support. We celebrated Crystal’s birthday, filling the room with laughter and joy. Family sleepovers became a regular occurrence, allowing us to cherish every moment together. Even our family dog, Jack Riley, stayed by Crystal’s side, providing comfort and companionship.

During the month of February, the Owen Sound Attack, who were doing a charity game for Grey Bruce Hospice, had some players come to visit Brodie, a huge fan of the Attack. They spent time with him, sharing stories and playing mini sticks and video games in the children’s room at Chapman House. The team also joined us for a visit from a little of Shar Pei puppies! It was a moment that brought immense happiness to Crystal, Brodie and me.

As Crystal’s time in hospice continued, the staff and Crystal worked on a unique legacy project. They helped us create a beautiful mould of Crystal, Brodie and my hands, capturing the love and bond we shared. It was a tangible reminder of our time together, something Brodie and I could cherish long after Crystal was gone. 

Hospice became more than just a place for Crystal and our family. It became a sanctuary – a place where people come to finish living, to celebrate life’s precious moments, and to feel the love that never dies. Crystal’s journey with Grey Bruce Hospice showed the power of compassion, support, and the strength of a family united in love.

Crystal died on April 22nd 2023 at Chapman House. Three and a half months after almost losing her and thinking that was all the time they had left together. Shea attributes the quality of life Crystal and the whole family had during the last 3 months to the outstanding care from the team of dedicated professionals and volunteers at Grey Bruce Hospice, Chapman House.
Crystal’s story serves to remind us of the importance of cherishing every moment and embracing the love and support that surrounds us. Even in the face of terminal illness, Crystal showed her family and those around her the true meaning of living, and her legacy lives on, inspiring others to find joy and love in the simplest of moments.