A dying person said to Cicely Saunders, “I am a traveler on the journey from one life to the next, and I need a place where I can be welcomed and looked after and cared for and be myself on that journey.” No, we do not have the power to control their illness or make it go away, but as hospice people we reach out with an outstretched hand, a listening ear, an understanding mind. Our kindred spirit helps to share their feelings, thoughts, and fears. We are an essential part of the road map of their daunting journey.
What a privilege and blessing to be part of the hospice team! Patients and families openly and honestly express their inner emotions so that plans of care will meet their unique needs.
On one hand, when the unfortunate, dismissive words are uttered, “There is nothing more to be done,” hospice is both death accepting and life enhancing. Hospice is not disease centered but patient focused. When cure is no longer possible, giving our utmost in care becomes the ultimate concern. Often when asked, “How can you work with people that are dying?” you probably answer, “You get more out of it than you give working with a great interdisciplinary team.” You understand the words of Ecclesiastes 7, “It is better to be in a house of mourning, than a house of fasting.” Confronted with the finitude of life we rethink your priorities, refine our goals, and redefine our futures. We become better people because of hospice. How blessed we are.
Based on “In The Face of Insanity, How Do Caregivers Maintain Their Own Sanity” by Rabbi Earl A. Grollman