"To the warm and loving people in my life" May 5, 2020 message about Carol Hird's passing
I am sending very sad news about our Carol.
As many of you know, Carol has been fighting ovarian cancer for over four years. Various treatments showed some promise over the years. However, in recent times they no longer worked and she was in palliative care, living at home. Carol passed in the North Shore Hospice on Wednesday evening, April 29th. I was with her, by her side and holding her, as she passed.
Carol leaves behind her stepdaughter Leora Gibson, our son-in-law Trent Gibson, our three grandchildren (Maeve, Torsten, Ella), our loving family in England and Canada, and so many great friends, many of whom have sent condolences and messages of appreciation about what Carol meant to them.
This is heartbreaking news, I know, that I must share with her family and loving friends. There are so many people to contact. Please know that I can picture everyone who is receiving this message from me on her cancer journey blog.
Carol and I were together for over 34 years. We became sweethearts in November 1985.
We had much in common: a passion for education, music, travel, teaching, friendships, and helping people. And more, much more. We took it slowly and as our romance developed we realized that we wanted to make a life together, to leave our single statuses well behind and become a team. Carol was so accomplished, so talented, and also so humble. Of course, she was beautiful and loving.
Early on, at times, I must have thought that she was too good to be true. But then I appreciated that, with her work, including thousands of hours of volunteer work and advocacy on top of her professional work, that this marvellous, talented, giving woman thrived on helping others and advancing health care. Carol believed in evidence-based practice. She would often ask "where's your evidence?" to detractors of midwifery and she worked in venues large and small to advance the interests of midwives and to promote maternal and infant well-being globally. I can only touch on some of Carol's background and accomplishments in today's blog message.
Carol was born in Hull, Yorkshire on July 15, 1946. She was the eldest of five children. Carol completed courses of study in midwifery and nursing in England and worked as a midwife before emigrating to Canada in 1972. Carol worked in Fort Churchill before moving to Edmonton and eventually to Vancouver. She was a champion and leader of the Midwives Association of BC for many years and served on the executive of the International Confederation of Midwives for nine years. In 1993, during the ICM triennial congress in Vancouver, Carol was President of the ICM and vice-president of the MABC. She and thousands of delegates were moved by the announcement from the then-Minister of Health that steps would be taken to establish professional midwifery in British Columbia. Carol was a true leader and deeply involved with many others who lobbied successfully for the recognition of professional midwifery and its establishment in Canada.
She received her MA in Midwifery Practice from Thames Valley University, London in 1996. In 2005, she was honoured by the MABC with a certificate of honourary membership "for her outstanding contribution to the advancement of midwifery in BC especially for achievements with the Int'l symposium in 1993." Carol received the 2009 North Shore Health Care Award Award for outstanding achievement in leadership. Carol's contributions as a clinician, teacher, administrator, nurse, advocate and leader in the midwifery movement resulted in awards and accolades, but I believe she was even more touched by the hundreds and hundreds of thank-yous and touch bases from the people who knew her. She completely adored her family in England and Canada. At this time when people are so deeply saddened it helps to know that Carol is completely beloved and appreciated.
Well before her cancer diagnosis, we became an "every step of the way" couple. Last week, when Carol continued to struggle and to do her best to stay at home, in self-isolation with me and in touch with health providers by phone and email, she said that I was "her strength and stay". Early on I knew that I was "a lucky guy" to be with Carol, that I was fortunate beyond words to have her become the love of my life. I can attest to her courage and how she kept to her daily resolution to "get up, dress up, and show up."
I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has loved Carol and to the many people who have helped her through her cancer journey. Some of these people include her wonderful oncologist, the "earth angel" nurses in the chemotherapy clinic in Lions Gate Hospital, various consultants, scores of people who she worked with, many people who encouraged us and hoped that Carol would be one of the "100 percent Club" whose cancer went into remission. She thrived and took heart in what she called the "jetstream" of love and support from our family and from all of you throughout this struggle with cancer.
I feel huge appreciation for the people who are helping me come to terms with what Carol and I most feared: a time without one another. She feels very much present every day. She will be cherished for all my life and all our lives. There will be a formal celebration of Carol's life at some point but not at this time of pandemic when we can't touch one another or come close.
Tuesday, May 5th is the International Day of the Midwife. The theme for the International Confederation of Midwives 2020 campaign is "celebrate, demonstrate, mobilise, unite - our time is NOW!" And I think that this captures the way all of us we will remember Carol. Our Carol.