So I was looking out my window wondering what I can do to make a difference in someones life today. Someone I didn’t know personally. Then I remembered why I became a hospice volunteer many years ago. Honestly speaking, I feel as though my desire to help someone with an emotional and physical need such as the terminally ill, turned out to be a healing for myself. With this experience I immediately became aware of my own internal desperation to be understood, to be heard and to let go. Each patient I saw had a story and each story was similar. Forgiveness and acceptance.To love and be loved.
I started to feel as though volunteering was more for me then it was for the unknown human being that I was volunteering my time for! Although I did develop relationships with the patients, I also come to know the hospice nurses very well. They are truly amazing women and men with a heart full of compassion to say the least! They are angels that are human but do what most humans can not do. They are able to hold a dieing patients hair back when vomiting due to high dosage of medication. They have a certain kind of power or skill to take abuse when a patient is verbally lashing out because they simply are having a hard time “accepting” death.They are there to ease the pain and discomfort that your loved one is experiencing during there final hours. If I’m to be even MORE honest, there were times that after my hours of volunteering at the IPU, I would either walk out happy as can be because I was able to put a smile on a patients face, or I couldn’t wait to take a shot of Jack because one of the patients was screaming desperately out to God, “Why me? I’m only sixteen years old! Why me God”?!? It was at times difficult to grasp and witness what a human being goes through when facing death at the door. I don’t believe it’s possible to “grasp” or comprehend until it is our turn. I recall many stories that the patients shared with me during there last days, all that which have touched me deeply. I became a hospice volunteer because I wanted to be there for someone who had no family, or felt all alone. When your given six months or less to live, you feel alone. Even if your surrounded by family, feelings of separation are very real.
I learned a lot about the human spirit during my years of being a hospice volunteer. I also learned about myself. During that time, I was going through some life changing events that weren’t so favorable (one of many). When I was a hospice volunteer I forgot about myself and what I was going through, and focused solely on those patients that I visited. It was then that I gained a new appreciation for life, love, acceptance, and one of my favorites….. forgiveness. It was and still is a valuable lesson.
Although It’s been sometime now since I volunteered with hospice, I believe I will again. I have such an interest in the human spirit, in particularly regarding the crossroads of life, that I relentlessly follow my passion. One of many, are people and relationships.
If you ever find yourself in a situation or circumstance that is not so favorable, perhaps try volunteer work. Sometimes helping others can put things in a whole new perspective. However, don’t wait till your in a bad way to volunteer, volunteer no matter where you are in life. Helping others maybe the beginning of something wonderful for you!