A year ago, Eileen successfully completed her 26-hour training to become a Compassionate Companion volunteer for Pilgrims Hospice Society. Since then, she’s been visiting Doug once a week at the Edmonton General Hospital, building a relationship they both appreciate and enjoy.
Although Doug is blessed by visitors and daily calls from his wife in Vernon, the days can still be long and lonely. He looks forward to Eileen’s visits as a special time he can tell his life stories and just be able to talk.
Through her training, Eileen has learned to ask good questions and listen without judgement, allowing Doug to “blow off steam”, let go of resentments and heal some family issues that have been unresolved for years.
Doug praises Pilgrims Hospice and feels lucky for the match with Eileen: “It’s like a miracle – they know what they’re doing!” For Eileen, a self-confessed “talker”, it’s been a wonderful lesson to hone active, empathetic listening skills that allow the development of trust. She is often touched by the hope and gratitude Doug expresses during her visits and is glad to provide him with positive companionship on his journey.
For both of them, their time together is deeply meaningful – ranging from laughter to tears and back again in a single visit – a treasured time built on a foundation of respect and trust.