Answering the Call

On August 6th, I fulfilled a goal and completed the training necessary to become a volunteer with a local hospice. I guess you might say I fulfilled a “bucket list” item, but I prefer to think of it as answering a call. I was first trained as a hospice volunteer in college, while working towards my psychology degree. Little did I know that just about 20 years later, my own husband would spend his final 12 days under hospice care with me as his caregiver. I was given a somewhat unique, dual-sided view of this process, not unlike my experience with cancer. I found a hospice that allows me the freedom to visit with my assigned patient(s) on my own schedule. This past Thursday, I met and spent time with my first two patients-one male, age 91 and a female, age 88. They both suffer from dementia and reside in the same nursing home. My job is to provide companionship, emotional support and socialization to each of them. I intend to document all of my visits in a new journal that I started. I hope to capture the essence of our visits, which will help me to remember them and their impact on me long after they have gone. I can only imagine what lessons I will learn from each patient I am assigned. Ultimately, they will give me so much more than I can possibly give them. I am grateful that I was given this opportunity, and look forward to meeting each and every person that may come my way. I know that it will prove to be a life-altering experience.

2 thoughts on “Answering the Call

  1. Great post, you’re an inspiration. Volunteer work is something I used to do a lot in high school, but now life seems too busy to fit it in. But reading this puts it into some perspective so thank you Joan

  2. My mom was in Hospice 8 years ago. What a beautiful death she had. I volunteered for a program we had at St Elizabeth Medical Center when i worked there called “No One Dies Alone”. We had to go thru training & were on call to sit with patients who did not have anyone in the area that could be with them when they die.
    Been wanting to get with Hospice in Blue Ash to see about volunteering, see you have inspired me!
    My golden retriever, Henry will be 3 in Sept and he has an awesome calm temperment, We have checked into training him to be a therapy dog.
    Awesome that you have done that!

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