Hospice Experience: An Honor, Privilege to Serve Families
Working with patients and families who are living with dying has taught me so many valuable life lessons. I have the privilege of coming along side a family at a sacred life passage. I have found this to be a time that people are processing their life and relationships. Things that loomed large in their life change in scope as they face profound change. Hospice offers such tremendous support for the patient and family on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. We are able to come along side a family, embracing and acknowledging people in their own unique culture or tradition. We are able to promote a higher quality of life for the whole family system as they work on the most fundamental issues together.
I have had the honor of watching a family of sisters honoring their mother by sitting vigil. Taking turns in pairs recounting stories of their childhood in the presence of their mother. And a son, coming in each evening after work to sit with his father, sharing with hospice staff the values he credits his father with instilling in him. And the mother, so torn by grief that she cannot bear the undertaking of sitting with her dying son so hospice volunteers share the weight for her.
In these and all the stories in my memory, I have come to realize that it is important to embrace our differences and give ourselves permission to experience the journey of dying in our own unique way. Quiet our minds, deepen our breathing, and allow love to flow unconditionally between us and our loved ones.
By Bonnie Fouts, Social Worker, Manager of Kanmar PlaceBack to Articles