Margarida Dyck Royston - a changemaker held back by her health issues.

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Born: November 11, 1951
Died: December 20, 2000

Feisty. Engaging. Passionate. 

Margarida Dyck Royston Careship 

We are establishing the Margarida Dyck Royston Careship for those who have spent more than week in hospital. This will be used to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization and enable Grand River staff to provide additional comfort and care to relieve boredom, help with pain and suffering and make a difficult experience just a little better. All donations will be matched up to $1000 every year. 


My mom was all those things and more.  She was a proud woman, a strong woman and a great mother.  She was open, honest and intelligent.  My mother taught me to stand up and be proud, to fight for what I believe in and above all, always care for others, especially you family for they are the most important aspect of one’s life.  On the day she went to the hospital for the last time on October 11th she wrote this in her journal:

The anniversary of Rick’s Mom’s death.  I miss you Rose.  Came to Mt Sinai, will need to be admitted.  I hate it.  The thought of spending weeks on end here is very upsetting.  I’m sitting in the waiting room waiting for a bed.  Rick has gone to get my stuff from the car.  I don’t want to be here. My nose is beat red.  I’m trying not to cry. If only I had the courage…….

She ended up spending 6 months living at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto waiting for a new heart. She was transferred to the Ottawa Heart Institute as things were worsening.  Unfortunately her worst fear happened there. With her medication change she had a stroke and was brain dead within two weeks. My dad had to fly up and pull the plug on December 20, 2000.  I cried for hours on her bed. Smelling the sheets even though she hadn't slept there in months. 

With a barrage of illness throughout her adult life she had courage.  So much courage. She had strength beyond imagination to deal with what had befallen her in life.  Yet she still made a huge impact upon everyone she met and used her joie de vie to brighten their spirits.  She got a card a few days after she died from a friend she made in the hospital earlier that year, and it exemplifies the impact she had on the world.

Dear Margarida,
Sharing my mom's homemade sandwiches in my gorgeous private room at our home away from home, splitting popsicles, eating lemons until our hearts content, laughing at our the princess locked in the hall shower, enjoying every mouthful of Salisbury steak we were given, chatting about all our nurses, especially our friend Oliver, let us not forget Jill, bringing all my beautiful flowers to your room so we could fill your double window with them.  What great memories!

Margarida you have had to face so many challenges in your life and I truly admire your strength to get through them.  You are my inspiration and I have learned so much form you.  Even on your worst days you always had a positive attitude towards life.

I know I can’t see you today and I understand.  However, I would like you to know that you have truly touched my life in such a positive way and you are someone I cherish.  Keep smiling until we see each other again!
Love Always Connie

Self Report written by Margarida about her illnesses:

I have a congenital heart disease.  It is called Idiopathic Hypertrophic Sub-Aortic Stenosis (IHSS), complicated by Atrial Fibrillation, followed by Congestive Heart Failure.  I had open-heart surgery in 1981, to remove some of the muscle that was blocking my artery and did well until 1993 when I developed atrial fibrillation, which could not be controlled by medication.  In 1995 I underwent a cardiac ablation, which means that my heart no longer beats by itself, but responds to electrical impulses of a pacemaker.

I am currently waiting for a hospital bed in Toronto to be assessed for a heart transplant.

I don’t have bad pains.  I experience tightness in my chest and throat, shortness of breath, dizziness, shakiness and aching legs.   Due to water retention, which is a big part of the heart failure, sometimes my liver swells and that can be quite painful, but manageable.  My heart jumps and flutters a lot even though my pacemaker is supposed to eliminate that.   I tire very easily. 

These are invisible diseases.  I don’t look sick. 

Acquaintances have commented on how good I look.  They don’t know that I am losing weight because of heart failure.  My neighbours must think I am pretty lazy since all they ever see me do is sit around watching my husband or son work.

I have “good” days.   A good day means I have the energy to do something, maybe go out for lunch with a friend or dust the furniture or do a couple of loads of laundry, if the laundry bag has been placed on the counter adjacent to the machine.  I have difficulty unloading the drier because bending down causes me to become dizzy. This also prevents me from working in the garden.

On “bad” days I really can’t do anything.

I am confined to the ground floor of our house, as stairs have become unmanageable.  I spent a lot of time in bed.  I usually retire for the night between 9 and 10 p.m. although I do not sleep the whole time, I get up around 9 or 10 of the following morning.  I usually rest after lunch and and again later in the afternoon.

I am able to shower by myself, but taking a bath is not possible, as it is very draining (pardon the pun) to get myself in and out of the tub. I am able to dress myself, although putting on socks and clipping toenails is difficult.

I have not been able to work outside the home for years. 

Her Obituary:

Margarida Dyck Royston was born in Brasil in 1951, she moved to Canada in 1967 with her parents and Evaldo.  Margarida (Deidi) met Rick in a bar in Vancouver and married him six weeks later on December 22, 1976.  They had Paul exactly two years later and moved to Kitchener in 1981, to be near her family.  The Family moved to Victoria, British Columbia in 1987 so Paul could experience his Grandparents.  They lived there for ten years until Rick’s parents passed away and then moved back to Kitchener to be near her family again.  The last eight months of her life was a struggle for survival, being in and out of hospital many times.  She was sent to the Heart Institute in Ottawa for her final chance, but she was unable to make it.  She put up a valiant struggle and will be sorely missed by her family and friends and all those whose lives she touched.


If you would like to know where her ashes are memorialized:

Parkview Cemetary, Waterloo, Ontario.  Section B, Lot 125, Grave 2



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