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Methodist Hospice Residence - A Mother's Story

Margaret Kirkland and HannahIf the love of family and friends is the true measure of riches, then Mary Margaret Welsh Kirkland was rich indeed. As a daughter, sister, wife and mother, she embodied strength and compassion with an amazing sense of fun and adventure.

Margaret fell in love with Keith Kirkland, her husband of 13 years, because of their shared passion for the outdoors. But, more than anything else, she was a devoted mother to 12-year-old Hannah, who was the center of her world. She was never more proud than when watching Hannah swim or ride horses. They raised chickens together in their backyard and played the best jokes together every April Fool’s Day. Margaret always said that the day that Hannah was born was the most important day of her life.

Margaret had always lived her life with spirit and grit. She was a talented photographer, could do a great yoga headstand and was a three-time winner of the Mississippi River Canoe and Kayak Race (although she was not happy that the women’s prize was less than the men’s!). It seemed that nothing could stop her from experiencing all that life offered.

It was in her 50s that Margaret, with the same spirit and grit with which she lived her life, fought cancer—and she fought valiantly for several years. At the end, she made the decision that she would not die at home—at Hannah’s home—so she chose to move to the Methodist Hospice Residence. Although the decision was hard, she knew it was the right one. There, Margaret would receive the care she needed and Hannah could visit her daily – all in a warm, loving environment. During those precious daily visits, Hannah would play outside in the courtyard on the sculpture and in the fountains and spend hours sharing stories with her mother.

On Hannah’s 12th birthday, she and her family held her birthday party at the Hospice Residence, so that Margaret could be with them. In the courtyard where Hannah played, they had cupcakes and candles, and soon afterward, Margaret passed away. She was able to be with Hannah on her birthday, the most important day of her life. 

Those family and friends who Margaret so loved now have to carry on without her, but they do so sustained by memories of her independent spirit, her feisty attitude and her great laugh. 

Photo: Margaret Kirkland and her daughter Hannah

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