Ruth Lambe was a guiding light to many people throughout her life.
Now, a light is shining in honour of Lambe, who was remembered on Sunday as a strong woman who made a lasting impression on her many family members and friends.
Her son Kerry Lambe and daughter Janet Pickard lit a bulb in memory of their mother during Hospice P.E.I.’s 23rd annual Let Their Light Shine campaign.
Kerry said it was an honour for his mother to be the first lighting in the campaign’s opening ceremony, which was held at the Charlottetown Mall on Sunday.
“We’re very touched by it,” he said. “We understand there are so many people that have been positively influenced by Hospice P.E.I. … I think it’s a testament to our mom that her name came forward.”
Apart from the Charlottetown Mall, Islanders can also write their loved one’s name on a card and turn on a tree light in their memory at locations in Summerside, Alberton and O’Leary.
Hospice P.E.I. executive director Nancymarie Arsenault said Christmas is often a difficult time of the year for those who have lost loved ones.
“Whether its 10 years ago or three months ago,” said Arsenault. “Something that is as physical as coming and placing a card and thinking about their loved one, it helps with the grieving process and it helps with celebrating the person that’s not in their lives anymore.”
Lambe was born in New Annan before moving with her husband Ivan into Charlottetown.
Kerry described his mother as a “force of nature” who worked hard for her family, which included about 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren at the time of her death.
In fact, while receiving care in the Provincial Palliative Care Centre, it was uncommon for Lambe to not be surrounded by friends and family members.
Pickard said her mother was also devoted member of Charlottetown’s Calvary Church.
“She included the church members as part of her family, too,” said Janet. “People loved her, some of (the church members) would call her Mom… (the church) was a big part of her life.”
Lambe spent almost six weeks receiving care from Hospice P.E.I. while she stayed in the Provincial Palliative Care Centre.
“She had her 93rd birthday in palliative care in March,” said Pickard. “She went into palliative care on the 13th of February and she passed away on the 23rd of March.”
During that time, Kerry and Pickard were witnesses to the excellent care she had received.
“I can’t say enough about it,” said Kerry. “We’ve certainly seen the benefit. It made our lives and our mom’s life so much better at the end.”
Hospice P.E.I. is a volunteer-driven organization that assists Islanders across the province in preparing, supporting and caring for those affected by a life-limiting illness before and after death.
Some of that work includes bedside care, as well as grief and bereavement support and other services.
“There are over 300 volunteers across the province that provide support for hospice services,” said Arsenault. “It’s not just for the patients that we provide hospice services for, it’s also for the family and friends of the family.”