Tillie Reconnects with Family after 17 Years

Nothing means more to Matilda “Tillie” Grant than her family. The 84-year old resident of Chartwell Carrington House in Mission, BC, longed to see her five sisters who lived many miles away in their hometown of Welland, Ontario, after 17 years apart. With two of her sisters sick with cancer, and another sister missing her terribly, Tillie’s desire to see her sisters one more time grew stronger by the day.

Several obstacles, including finances, life circumstances and vast distances had kept Tillie and her family apart for many years. When staff at her Chartwell Carrington House heard of Tillie’s loneliness and wish to see her family in Ontario after so long, the wheels were put in motion to make it happen.

Trials have been a part of Tillie’s life since childhood. In 8th grade, her mother fell ill so Tillie quit school to care for her family of 13. Soon after, Tillie’s most beloved sister, Molly suffered paralysis due to rheumatic fever. To everyone’s delight, she made a miraculous recovery and regained her ability to walk. In adulthood, Tillie has battled four different kinds of cancer. Yet, of all her trials, Tillie says her most difficult challenge has been the recent loss her beloved husband of 64 years. These days, Tillie spends her time giving back to others by volunteering, and knitting blankets, mittens and slippers for others in need.

Earlier this year, a nomination was put forward on Tillie’s behalf by staff at Chartwell Carrington House and in July, Tillie was granted her wish to travel 4,500 km from her residence in Mission, BC to see her sisters in Welland, Ontario, thanks to Wish of a Lifetime Canada.

Tillie spent two nights catching up with her sisters, including a special dinner with 35 other members of her extended family! It was a trip brimming with tears, laughter and love. “Can you imagine – six sisters and a sister in law around one round table together? I couldn’t have asked for anything more in my lifetime,” said Tillie of her trip. “I don’t think a queen could have been more honoured than I felt in those two days,” she said. “When I saw my sisters, I knew the last chapter of my life had been fulfilled.”