The Wisdom of Geese

August 2022

Nancy Brockenshire and Sue Timpson Mannell holding The Wisdom of Geese photo frame

“It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any Canada goose flying alone.”

The spirit of that philosophy has been embodied at The Hospice, Erie Shores Campus since its opening in 2016. Before the facility had even opened its doors, Liz Chaplin, who was the Spiritual Care Practitioner, hosted a “pinning ceremony” for the staff and volunteers, presenting each team member with a goose pin and a copy of the lessons found in the iconic “Wisdom of Geese” writings.

“Liz wanted to ensure that the entire team understood that they could count on each other, and how important it was that each of them know that there would always be someone to help “lift” their spirits,” explains Michelle Parker, Manager of The Hospice, Erie Shores Residence. “Liz embodied these qualities herself every day, and she wanted to ensure that literally from day one, we were all working together and supporting each other.”

Liz took this just one step further, kicking off the pinning ceremony with an enthusiastic HONK! Her imitation of the goose’s honk became part of the heart and soul of the team. If anyone saw a team member who was struggling or a having a bad day, they would issue a signature HONK at them – either by email, message, or simply a giant, out loud HONK across the room. It became the trademark reminder to everyone that they weren’t on their own. It also sometimes provoked the laughter they all needed to get through a tough moment or difficult day.

Although Liz sadly passed away in 2019, the life lessons she shared with everyone she touched will never be forgotten. In 2021, the Wisdom of the Geese was officially adopted across Hospice, and dedicated in Liz’s memory. A memorial plaque was added to the original “Wisdom of Geese” image that hangs at The Hospice, Erie Shores Campus, and additional framed images with plaques were placed across both Windsor and Erie Shores Campuses. At Hospice Orientation, each new team member is awarded with a goose pin in Liz’s memory.

“We will never forget how fiercely she believed in the strength we could all find simply by flying together, and by following a path toward shared goals and beliefs. We are so grateful for Liz, and for her signature HONK. She continues to bring us hope and strength and smiles every day.”