Janie Burns has worked at Canuck Place for 22 years. She was one of the hospice’s first nurses and is now the nursing care coordinator. “I’ve grown up here,” she says. “It’s been wonderful to be part of Canuck Place for all these years and to see it grow.”
Janie is inspired by all the feelings and experiences that Canuck Place and its staff can hold and honour, all at the same time. When Janie thinks about a remarkable day at Canuck Place, this special story comes to her mind.
A few years ago, Janie and her fellow nurses were comforting a family whose little girl had passed away the night before. The family was burning incense and grieving. Just as some of those family members came out into the hallway, the elevator opened and a miniature horse walked out.
The horse and its handler clip-clopped down the hall and into another little girl’s room. She was also at Canuck Place for end-of-life care and she loved horses. “That little girl’s face lit up,” Janie remembers. “She was just so joyful, so happy!” The grieving family was also fascinated by this little horse and were taking photos and videos. “It was a little moment for them, too,” says Janie.
“That was one of my best days because there were so many emotions,” says Janie. “It was heartbreaking sadness to see a family grieving. But, also heartwarming to see this little horse come in and make another little girl so happy.”
“We see a lot of love here. A lot of sadness and a lot of grief. But, we see intense, intense love.” That’s what Canuck Place is about.
After telling her story, Janie laughs. “Others will probably find this story bizarre,” she says. “But, a lot of the work we do here can be strange.”
When was the last time you experienced sadness and joy at the same time? What did that moment mean to you?