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 that...my 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!

10 comments:

grammy said...

Isn't it amazing how life can hold new and exciting changes for us everyday. Even now (o: In the time of life we are in.
Sounds exciting and you sound happy (o:
Get that tree down
I am so far ahead of you....I have the boxes and piles down by the storage room...but can't seem to get them in the room...in some kind of order. I crave order, but I am not an orderly person. What is that all about?
Will you get to blog more now?

Cammy said...

It sounds like you were born to do this! How wonderful that you found a way to make it happen.

Debra said...

Lovely post! I'm so glad you're exactly where God gifted you to be in this season of your life. I'm sure you're a blessing to everyone you come in contact with. Blessings, Debra

ggbbgg125 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jared Porter said...

Lora, this blog entry is included in the February 2010 edition of Palliative Care Grand Rounds, hosted this month by the Alive Hospice Blog. Thank you for sharing your story!

Link: http://bit.ly/cjhX0P

Welcome to hospice care! We have the opportunity to touch so many lives!

Anonymous said...

Brim over I to but I dream the list inform should have more info then it has.

Nancy B. Kennedy said...

Your post honors the too often overlooked people who care for the elderly and the dying. We are all going to need each other as we grow older. My husband drives an ambulance for our town and I am proud of his volunteer service. Thanks for making clear the rewards of these hard jobs.

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Twix said...

I'm glad you found your fit. :)