I never know what to expect when I enter a room where a patient is close to leaving this world for the next. Sometimes the patient is alone, and sometimes family members are present. I’m immediately drawn to the patient’s side at which point all other thoughts leave me and I focus on the patient. I’m honored to hold a cool hand, brush back wisps of hair from the forehead and quietly speak to hopefully convey to the patient they are not alone. I may read to them, or just have a chat, knowing I won’t get an answer.
If family is present, my first question is always: tell me about your mom, dad,etc. I hear stories of a life lived, thrilling vacations, troubles encountered, and of course, family interrupted by grief. I feel privileged to be available to them, to share their thoughts, and to answer their questions.
My favorite hospice experience: spending time with a lovely woman, who was at the bedside of her husband of many years. She had sadly said her goodbyes and was keeping watch. She told me stories of their life together and we were laughing and enjoying the memories. I was watching changes in her husband as we were talking and realized during a particularly funny story, that he passed. I let her finish and I stood and checked her husband. I then turned to her and told her he had left. She was astonished that the passing was so peaceful! She said she felt he knew it was ok to leave! The joy on her face despite her sadness was a sight I’ll remember always. I’m blessed to be a part of the process.
Sandy, Hospice Volunteer
For more information or to volunteer with Abode Hospice, please contact us.