Mary and Ernie Dodgson exude love. Staff at the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence playfully refer to them as The Lovebirds. Over the last two years, they have become a fixture at the Houses. Despite his 89 years, Ernie insists on being the one to push Mary’s wheelchair. That way, she knows he’s always there.
They don’t just love each other, they’re in love with each other.
- Claire Dodgson, daughter
Love has guided their lives and their important life decisions. When Mary’s illness progressed to the point where Ernie knew they needed more support, Providence was their top choice. They knew they could count on Providence for the medical, emotional and spiritual support they needed.
“I love it here,” says Mary. “The staff take really good care of us.” Their daughter Claire agrees. Particularly during this challenging time, when so many seniors have been isolated, she says the staff have been integral to keeping her parents safe and happy. “We are forever grateful to Providence and the incredible, compassionate staff for caring for my parents,” she says. “While the family can’t to be together, we know they are in good hands.”
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This distance is particularly difficult this month for the whole Dodgson family. Mary and Ernie will celebrate 67 years of marriage but the Dodgsons will not be gathering for a large celebration.
Claire smiles fondly when she talks about her parents and growing up. She describes her parents’ romance as a classic love story. “They met roller-skating back in England. Mom lost her footing and fell. Luckily my dad was there. He wheeled over and helped her up. The rest is history, as they say.”
Ernie has held onto the roller skates he wore when he first met his wife all those years ago. Gifted to Claire, she counts them among her most prized possessions.
They fell in love, got married and were blessed with four children. Claire remembers that as new immigrants in Canada, life wasn’t always easy, but it was full of love. A devoutly Catholic couple, Mary and Ernie lived their values of love, caring and compassion. They led by example, Mary volunteered at Providence Healthcare in the Palliative Care unit and Ernie helped out at church, the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Canadian Cancer Society, to name a few.
No matter the personal challenges her parents faced, Claire remembers how they were always ready to help someone in need. For her, they are the definition of strength and selflessness.
Now COVID-19 is testing their strength. “The staff are doing their best to keep us safe, and that’s all we can ask for,” says Ernie wistfully. Their biggest wish is to welcome visitors once again, particularly the newest addition to the Dodgson clan, their great-granddaughter, born during the pandemic. “They just can’t wait to meet her,” says Claire. “Family means so much.”
Claire knows her parents are luckier than many seniors because they have each other. She knows the toll these many months of isolation have taken on her parents’ friends and neighbours at Providence.
“Especially during this challenging time,” says Claire. “I feel so fortunate that they are at Providence. The staff have done everything possible to minimize the devastating impacts of COVID-19. While it has been, and continues to be a trying time, I am forever grateful to Providence and the incredible, compassionate staff. Mom and Dad are safe, healthy, and together.”
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Strength is. Love.
Strength is. Compassion.
Strength is. Providence.