Finding the light in the darkest of days.
“Finding a rhythm of life that we can both harmonize with. We lose that when we get devastating news – it’s all about finding new patterns and rhythms which Muriel and I are doing together.”
Losing your lifelong partner is something you can never fully prepare for. As you navigate through life together your future instinctively intertwines. Many never think of what the future could hold if you lost your partner. For both Kevin and Muriel, that fear became a reality at the end of 2019. Both losing their partners to health battles that engulfed their lives. Their loss left them alone and fearful of what the future might hold. “My husband had been ill for several decades,” shared Muriel. “He had some near-death episodes so I thought I was prepared to lose him but, when he did pass away it actually came as quite a shock.” Overwhelmed with grief Muriel’s doctor connected her to Acclaim Health.
Kevin lost his partner just a year after she was diagnosed with a life limiting illness, “I was aware I’m not very good with coping with what comes next,” said Kevin. “So even before she passed the writing was on the wall. I was already starting to look for help, one of the suggestions was Acclaim Health.”
“It was really a struggle to just to get one foot in front of the other. In those moments joy completely leaves,” said Kevin.
Although they went through different experiences when preparing for a loss, both journeys left them with grief and in need of help. Muriel and Kevin were connected with Nina, one of the bereavement support staff at Acclaim Health. She was there to offer them one-on-one support. “The help and care that Nina provided was always a breath of fresh air,” said Kevin.
“Nina made me realize the way I was feeling, completely non-functional, was very normal,” said Muriel. “I was in a very bad place but Acclaim Health saved my life.”
Alongside the one-on-one support Acclaim Health also offers walking groups, coffee and conversation meetings and even virtual support groups to help those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. As time progressed Nina encouraged both Muriel and Kevin to join the bereavement walking group. “When you were speaking to people in the group, you knew they understood how you were feeling,” shared Muriel. “Your family and friends don’t understand the agony that you actually go through when this type of loss happens.”
Although there were lots of other people there they could talk to, Kevin and Muriel found ease in speaking to each other.
“I was unstable for about three months,” said Kevin. “But then I connected with Muriel and I began to see that I had choices to get out of the darker path I was on. Joy began to come out of the program.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and forced a province wide shut-down Muriel and Kevin were no longer able to see each other. Thankfully, Kevin gave Muriel his email address which allowed them to continue to stay connected outside of the bereavement program.
“The relationship from the start was raw which let us get to know each other in a different way,” said Kevin. “We spent months just being supportive of each other in the midst of the pandemic.”
“Those support calls with Kevin led to wider talks about life and goals and where we want our stories to go from here,” said Muriel. “The pretty got pulled away even before our relationship began. We saw each other at our worst from the start.”
The summer led them to many adventures together in a motorhome, a passion they both shared. They have supported each other through every part of mourning. “I couldn’t have made it through the last 10 months without Acclaim Health or Kevin in my life,” shared Muriel.
Kevin and Muriel now spend most of their days with each other. Bouncing between each other’s spaces, they are there to support each other. Acclaim Health is still there to support them and they are still regularly in contact with Nina whenever they are having a rough day.
“Joy is back to being our daily event. With Muriel, I can open up about having a tough day or moment – she doesn’t feel threatened by it, she is there to help me out and be supportive,” said Kevin.
Planning for their future, Kevin is looking into purchasing a motorhome of his own. Hoping for more adventures with Muriel when he does so. They will continue to be there for each other through the good days and the bad. Sharing in the memories of the past and planning to create amazing new ones with their future. “This journey is bringing up dreams that I forgot about since I was a young boy,” shares Kevin. “We are able to manifest some of those dreams now with each other.”
“Acclaim Health has helped me more than anything ever in my life has, it has given me the hope, strength and the courage to see my way through all this and Kevin is the bonus,” said Muriel. “The transformation in our lives and I’m sure many other peoples lives through Acclaim Health it is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I know who I will be donating to for the rest of my life. So thank you.”