The family of Balbir Dhaliwal (Holmberg House patient 2017) honoured her memory and celebrated their love and gratitude for her in a big way at our Hike for Hospice. They engaged their friends to support them in their cause and in doing so were able to make a significant financial donation to Abbotsford Hospice Society. But behind all these smiling faces on this day, is a story of loss. A loss that impacted their family greatly.
Here is that story, told by Jason Dhaliwal, Balbir's son:
On most occasions stories end with happiness, unfortunately ours did not. Our mother Balbir Dhaliwal at only the age of 66 years was taken from us on September 28th, 2017 at 12:04am. This was the most devastating day of our lives. Along with being a mother of 4 she was a sister, aunt, wife, grandmother and most importantly, our best friend. Balbir was our backbone which means she was our strength of character. She could be best described as a strong person who held our family together. Balbir was always out going and a happy go lucky person who loved to cook. If you were too full, well that's too bad, she would say ‘keep eating’. She was always there for you when you needed her or when you needed to talk.
Balbir was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on January 17th, 2016, and was only given 8 months to live, She fought until the end with a smile. She drew her strength from the fact that she wanted to be there for her family until the end. Her legacy comes from her everlasting example of caring and nurturing. Saying we are now okay would be untruthful, our family still does grieve with tears and pain. But now it follows with smiles because we know our angel that we call mom still watches over us. Her passing was a long process, she was given 8 months from the diagnosis date, but as a warrior she overachieved that and kept fighting.
While we know that she is at peace and that her struggles are at an end, for us there is pain and sadness. Although she is gone, she has left us everlasting memories of her love and perseverance.
If my family and I could think of one word to describe Holmberg House (Abbotsford Hospice), it would be HOME. Holmberg House knew our situation and made sure we had our best possible time there. The nurses like Neelam, Debbie and her best friend Susan along with many others made it feel like home. Holmberg House took us in with open arms and love. We celebrated Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries there. It felt like we did not skip a beat and we were right at home. This is why my family and I continuously donate to this organization and it will forever mean the world to us.
My family and I started the bench program as you will see when entering the front of the house and contributed along with others on the butterfly wall. Serenity Gardens was also our mothers favourite place to spend time with family and relax. The kitchen is truly amazing and provided our family with so many memories. It’s where we baked cookies and all the kids ate and enjoyed them. Given the circumstances, the memories at Holmberg House will forever be cherished as a positive place which allowed us to deal with the ultimate grief and loss. Holmberg House allowed our family and most importantly our mother to continue to do the things she enjoyed the most in a place we would best describe as home.