Saturday, January 16, 2010

A New Year...A New Direction for my Life...

Remember last year - how one of my New Year's resolutions was to NOT procrastinate? It's January 16th and my Christmas tree is still up. Enough said.

I haven't watered it in over 2 weeks because I kept thinking I was going to take it down "the next day" and why bother. It's at the point now where I walk by and just the gentle breeze from my passing body causes the needles to fall off. Reminiscent of that old Charlie brown Christmas special where all the needs fall of the tree with a tinkling sound.

The tree needs to come down. I am pathetic! Today is the day.

The new job is 2 weeks in and I am loving it! I didn't think anything would ever measure up to teaching but this is it. The people I work with are awesome and it is so low key there and peaceful. As peaceful as one can expect in a Hospice Home. While it can be sad to be in the midst of dying people and their grieving families - there is an element of satisfaction in knowing that you are there beside them to help then through this difficult time and makes things as comfortable as you can in the process.

I'd always been drawn to this kind of work....but kept it tucked in the corners of my mind because I figured I would be a better art teacher. The thing that hooked me on the Hospice philosophy (so many years ago) occurred one weekend in the spring of 1988. We got a call to rush to Ohio where my father-in-law lay dying. He was in a Hospice facility and I was awed by the gentleness and kindness of the people there. He died peacefully as we all stood around his bedside and encouraged him to "let go...that it was okay....that we were all here..." It was a strange experience for me. I had never seen someone die.

The next day as my emotions were still in overdrive, I got a call from my sister. She was in labor and wanted me to come over and keep her company. Several hours later I stood yet again at a bedside and was encouraging my sister (along with her hubby of course) "that it was okay...we were all here..." In the course of 48 hours I saw one human being leave this world and another enter it. The similarity between the two was striking. I was hooked. I bought Elizabeth Kubler Ross's book "Death and Dying" and tried to learn as much as I could about the hospice philosophy. I took a home health aide course and began caring for Hospice patients in their homes.

Then the real world enveloped me and I found myself caring for my own mom in a hospice setting....then a month later my dad....and a few years after husband. I had now seen 4 people die and I figured that was enough for my lifetime. So I went back to school and got my teaching degree.

My sisters took a different course. One became a Hospice Nurse and the other, a Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. Then one day this past fall, sis called me up and said there was an opening for a Volunteer Coordinator at one of the local Hospice Homes in our area...and was I interested. Fast forward and here I am. The job fits like a glove. The administrative part is right up my alley - and the interaction with the families and the residents (we don't call them patients) is immensely rewarding.

I am struck by the words in the bible that say "He comforts us in our afflictions, so that we might comfort others..."

It's amazing how hindsight causes all the pieces in a puzzle to fit together. This is where I was meant to be.

Now you must excuse me now while I go tackle that tree!