Donna and Terry Griffin are business owners who enjoy contributing to their community. After Terry’s mother, Myrtle, moved into the Lions Manor Nursing Home in Placentia, they were immediately embraced and became part of the warm and caring family of the residents and staff of Lions Manor.
Throughout her life, Myrtle Kelly faced many hardships: losing her husband at a young age; having to move with her five small children from Ontario back to Newfoundland and Labrador with little-to-no money; and later losing two of her children. Needless to say, she was a strong, resilient and independent woman who was always kind and genuine to others.
Donna, Myrtle’s daughter in-law, describes her as, “a very loving and generous soul that would do anything for anyone regardless of how much she had.”
Myrtle always loved the garden, saying that the flowers in bloom and the colourful birds flying from branch to branch, brought her some sort of peace.
From Myrtle’s room at Lions Manor, she could see the place where once a garden grew. To bring Myrtle peace and comfort in her new home, Donna decided to spruce up the garden. Between Donna, Terry, employees at the residence, along with family and friends, many hours were spent restoring the garden.
Sadly, at the age of 91, Myrtle passed peacefully away at the Lions Manor Nursing Home on April 12, 2014 – before her garden was complete.
To honour Myrtle, Donna and the others did not quit but continued to pursue restoration of the garden. In the true spirit of Myrtle, many items were generously donated to help beautify the garden including décor, benches, birdhouses, birdfeeders, plants and flowers to make it a truly warm and inviting space.
At last, this past July, after many months of hard work, the garden was finished.
And what has the response been like to the new garden?
“The residents love it,” says Emma Cochrane, a licensed practical nurse at the facility.
“It’s beautiful out there … no place like I’ve ever seen before. I like watching the birds go mad over the feeders in the trees. It’s some nice to look out there in the night and see [the garden] all lit up,” says one resident.
Another resident adds: “I loved to be out there, the flowers and the sun was nice this summer and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Eastern Health’s vision is Healthy People, Healthy Communities. By connecting with the community and working with families, like the Griffins, Eastern Health strives to enhance the quality of care delivered to residents while ensuring their comfort and wellbeing.
“It’s like our own little sanctuary out there; a place to retreat in the middle of the work day. I could really see the benefit the residents got out of it; looking at the flowers and tending to the garden,” says Priscilla Corcoran Mooney, primary health care manager, Rural Avalon. “It is the perfect example of the partnership between community and long-term care.”
As an organization, Eastern Health values the uniqueness of each patient and strives to create an environment which reflects individual needs and desires. In this case, staff worked with Myrtle’s loved ones and the community to build a space that will provide comfort and calm to all who visit it now and into the future.
There could be no better tribute to Myrtle than to dedicate this tranquil and beautiful space to her.
As Donna says: “I hope that Myrtle’s Garden will bring love, peace and joy to the residents, family and staff of the Lions Manor for years to come.” ■
This story was written by Cassandra McLean, recreation development specialist, Placentia Health Centre, Lions Manor.