As we enter the giving season and approach the end of 2023, we invite you to be a part of our Love Never Dies campaign, so we can make more moments matter for more residents and their families. Your gift, whether big or small, makes a difference in the lives of the people we serve.
Did you enjoy the love story of Eileen and Jaque? If you’d like to read a fuller version of the story please scroll down and read more. We are so excited about our first wedding in the hospice and the small role we were able to play in this beautiful love story as told to Cheryl Cottrill by Eileen Fair and printed with Eileen’s permission. Enjoy!
Your generosity has the power to shape a world where end-of-life receives the same beauty, care and respect as the beginning, by making moments matter!
A Lifetime of Love: Jaque and Eileen’s Remarkable Journey
We all recall our youthful first crush, but few of us get to experience the
rekindling of that crush and watch it grow into a deep love in our later years.
This is the story of Jaque and Eileen and their love that spanned over
decades to find each other again.
In 2015, life took an unexpected turn for Jaque. His wife had recently passed,
and he felt a longing to revisit the Duggan farm in Kincardine where he had
worked as a young man, 67 years earlier. The trip down memory lane led
him to the local library, where he stumbled upon Daisy Duggan's obituary,
which mentioned a eulogy delivered by Vern Fry.
Intrigued by this connection, Jaque and his son set out to find Vern Fry and
stopped by Gordon’s Pharmacy to see if anyone knew where Vern might be
found. Vern was well-known to the staff there and they quickly led Jaque to Vern’s house close by. Jaque's inquiry about his long-lost summer crush, Eileen, was a shot in the dark, with no guarantee she was still living.
Without revealing Jaque’s name, Vern contacted Eileen, alerting her to the impending visit of a man who had once worked on Uncle Ogle and Aunt Daisy's farm. Cautious but curious, Eileen asked her brother Allan to be present when this mysterious visitor arrived. It had been 67 years since their youthful romance, but when Jaque uttered his name, Eileen recognized him instantly.
With an unspoken bond, their connection was reignited.
Jaque's stay in Kincardine for two days deepened the connection between him and Eileen. As he prepared to return to South Carolina, he asked Eileen a simple yet poignant question: "May I give you a hug?" Eileen accepted the hug and now years later recalled with a big smile: "That was that." Their unspoken love story had found its second chapter.
Jaque returned for more visits, forging a deeper connection with Eileen in the process. By 2017, he made a life-altering decision. He moved to Kincardine to be with Eileen, and together, they embarked on a journey that had been deferred for far too long. Their love story was a tale of two people reconnecting, finding happiness, and making the most of their time together.
Their adventures took them to South Carolina, a place of significance in Jaque's life. They explored the East Coast and shared romantic moments by Lake Huron, making up for the stolen kisses and hugs denied in their youth.
In 2022, life presented them with an unforeseen challenge when Jaque received a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer. Eileen's love for Jaque remained unwavering as she became his caregiver. As his health declined, Dr. Gunaratne suggested that they consider Huron Shores Hospice. Eileen, grateful for the opportunity to stay with Jaque during this time, embraced the support provided by the hospice.
Eileen expressed, “We so appreciated the nurses, personal support workers and the volunteers. Their attention to detail and support ensured that Jaque was always well-groomed and comfortable. Hospice volunteers and staff were there when I needed assistance or someone to talk to. The hospice atmosphere and great meals truly made it a wonderful way to leave this world.”
In the midst of their difficult journey, Jaque did something remarkable. He surprised Eileen with a wedding proposal that "took her breath away." The wedding plans were swiftly set into motion, orchestrated with simplicity and love by family, volunteers and staff at the hospice.
Eileen, with her daughter-in-law Jeannette, procured the marriage license, and rings were secured, as per Jaque's request. A comfort care volunteer reached out to her minister for the ceremony. Hospice volunteers decorated the room with balloons, and a bouquet awaited the bride. A bottle of champagne was brought in to toast the union, and Eileen's children arranged for a cake. In less than a day, on November 16, the room was transformed into a place of love and celebration.
Two days after the wedding, on Jaque's 90th birthday, the room was filled with balloons, marking another joyful milestone. Eileen's birthday, on November 26, was celebrated in the same warm and loving atmosphere.
On November 27, Jaque passed away peacefully, with Eileen by his side. Their story was an extraordinary journey of two people reuniting and finding happiness in the autumn of their lives.
The wedding and two birthday celebrations at Huron Shores Hospice and the support they received exemplify the mission to make every moment matter, even in challenging times. It's a story that speaks of resilience, love, and the impact of our donors supporting the work of providing compassionate care.
Eileen's love for Jaque remains very much alive as she beautifully puts it, "He was such a good man, and I love him very much."