TYNE VALLEY — Out of great sadness, the hope is something beautiful can grow.
© Submitted photo
Dr. Joyce Madigane (centre) during the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Tyne Valley Health Centre in 2009. Also shown are Martha Owen (left), health centre manager; Health Minister Doug Currie, Premier Robert Ghiz, Paula Biggar and Leigh Newcombe, chair of the Stewart Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Paula Biggar is hoping the Tyne Valley and area community rallies around the concept of a Serenity Garden in memory of her longtime friend and neighbour, Dr. Joyce Madigane, who, last Thursday, lost her short battle with cancer.
“To our community, she was a real anchor in terms of support in sad times and in good times,” said Biggar, who is also MLA for the area. “She was just there for a lot of people to share her wisdom and her patience during those times they needed it.”
The two families were neighbours for 38 years, with Biggar’s daughters Tabatha and Tasha often running across the field to Madigane’s home to help the beloved doctor tend to her garden, which was her passion and an escape from her busy job.
“She was honorary grandmother at both my daughters’ weddings,” said Biggar of her close friend. “Our children spent many hours over there gardening with her especially.
“We would look out in the evenings when she had some time and we would see her puttering in her flower garden and in her vegetable garden and that was her way of unwinding, her private time.”
Biggar was fortunate to have some precious moments with her friend the day before her passing, adding although the community knew Madigane was in hospital her death came as a shock.
“A lot of people have come together to share their stories and their photos,” she said, adding many have taken to social media to help each other heal.
“Everyone has a special story because, going back 39 years, we are now into second generations of children that were delivered by her. We are into our second generation in the community of people having gone to Dr. Madigane.
“We have had other doctors as well at the time but she has been our constant doctor there for 39 years.”
Biggar said that a garden in her friend’s memory, possibly situated on the grounds of the new manor that is slated to begin construction in the community in fall 2015, would be a fitting tribute to a woman who meant so much to so many.
“It would be a way for the residents of that manor and their families to have a spot where they could enjoy time together,” she said, adding it could be wheelchair accessible with benches for people to sit and reflect.
“It would be just a quiet spot where people can gather.”
She put the idea out to the public via her Facebook page, sharing photos of a similar garden in Virginia. Already, she has received more than 100 ‘likes’ and numerous calls from individuals and community groups from supporters.
“I would want to have the blessing first of her son to proceed. I think he would be OK with it,” added Biggar. “I thought that we could put it out there as a way to get people’s spirits lifted a little bit. Everyone wants to do something to honour her in a permanent way.”
If the garden is a go, and, said Biggar, knowing the community in which she lives, it will most likely move forward, it will be filled with lush greenery and, of course, what’s known in Tyne Valley as Edisons, Madigane’s favourite flower.
The flower once grew throughout the community.
“This summer, actually, she was out looking for them because she had them in her flower garden and they went away,” Biggar said, laughing at the memory. “She was out looking for who had them.”
Funeral services for Dr. Madigane will be held Saturday at 10:20 a.m. at Moase Funeral Home, Summerside.