Volunteer Stories

Musical Interludes at the Hospice Residence

My name is Paul Helliwell-Hargreaves and I am 64 years old. I have been volunteering for Langley Hospice Society at Langley Hospice Residence as a musician for a good part of a year. I play an acoustic guitar and sing songs like ballads, folk, western, rock, old time, and gospel. If you are familiar with the Hospice Residence, I play by the memorial table in front of the nurses’ station. The acoustics are so good the sound carries to the end of the corridor. If anyone wants me to play in their room, then I will. I’ve had no formal training dealing with death in the Hospice but for 12 years I did volunteer at Delta View SCU playing for residents with dementia. My uncle/godfather, a resident, eventually died there. I was asked to play for an elderly gentleman and his family, and was asked if I knew “The Red River Valley “(a favourite western song of the gentleman’s). Quite often when I’m singing I don’t really listen to the words, but this time the importance of the words impacted us...
Get the full story

Recipe for Success

On a beautiful, calm Wednesday afternoon, I was welcomed into Dorscie Paterson’s home with open arms and a smile as bright as the sun. She is an esteemed volunteer for the Langley Hospice Society. With the warmth of Mother Nature around us, I asked Dorscie to explain her journey to hospice volunteering. She talked of seeing Elizabeth Kubler-Ross speak at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, as the topic of life and death “fascinated” her. Although this opportunity ignited her interest, it wasn’t until the death of her mother, however, that Dorscie really comprehended the weight of losing a loved one. “I remember a nurse gave me a bundle of my mother’s clothes as I walked out the hospital… I saw a man walking a dog, a woman driving a car… and all I could think was – don’t they know my mom just died? But of course they didn’t. I needed to talk about it but life was going on for everyone else”. The need to talk, to share her experience, to cry and be comforted; these were imperative to...
Get the full story

Musings of a Volunteer at Langley Hospice Residence

“What made you volunteer for Hospice?” “Don't you find it sad being around the dying?” How many of us have had these and many other questions like them posed when people find out that you are a volunteer at Langley Hospice? My journey as a volunteer has been one of personal discovery, growth and challenge. I remember during my initial training, as I listened to Fernande and the other presenters, I would look for the key to unlock what was expected of me. I thought that once I learnt “how to be a good volunteer” all would be well. I initially felt frustrated at our weekly sessions as I tried to analyze and second-guess the process. But as the training progressed, I found that there is no key, in fact there is no lock, other than the one that I wrap my heart in. I needed to let go and listen; not easy for me. Each week as the training continued I would ask myself “Why am I here?” The answer that came back was: “because you want to be; be patient and listen”. I am a stubborn person, but...
Get the full story

Helping One Another

While doing my volunteer work at the hospice residence, I recently spent the better part of my shift visiting with a very discontented patient, whose health seemed to be getting worse day by day. This particular evening was a very lonely one for him – no visitors – and when he asked me to stay and talk, I naturally complied. Our conversation started about his family and as he talked, he began to act worried and distressed. I encouraged him to talk it out and very rapidly the conversation progressed into an intimate sort of emotional confession regarding his grown son. He had disowned this son over thirty-five years ago, and explained to me the circumstances leading up to their conflict. He knew he was going to die soon, and he wanted to see his son one last time, tell him how sorry he was and how much he loved him. He told me, several times, that it was his dying wish to do this. At first, I felt a reluctance to get involved in the “Family Dance”, but I was very emotionally moved by...
Get the full story

Hospice Volunteer Experiences

One evening I sat with a man who appeared to be sleeping. I stayed for a few minutes, quietly watching, before moving on to visit others. When I returned later, he was awake. I told him that I had come in earlier. He said, "I knew you were there". It made me realize that my presence was important to the people in care, even if not always acknowledged. One time, I sat with a woman while her visiting daughter shared memories of her mother. The stories revolved around the everyday actions of a mother. The mundane deeds and loving functions that showed how much her mother cared for her family. It was the little things that mattered most, in the end, and the daughter wanted me, and her mother, to know how much they meant to her. On another shift, I met a woman who had just arrived from England to be with her father. Once here, she was reluctant to leave the hospice, even for a short time, to get settled into her accommodation. Finally, she asked me if I would stay with her father while...
Get the full story

One Hospice Volunteer’s Viewpoint

I've been working as a hospice volunteer now since December, 2007. It was a choice that surprised many of my family and friends - my youngest son even said, "Mum, you won't be able to do that - you're too emotional"! But, that's what I'm doing, and I love it. It all started with my own grieving process ten years ago. My Dad, a vital, intelligent man, was struck down by a stroke during heart surgery. For three months he lingered in hospitals, while the family watched his body and mind slowly shut down. We felt helpless - unable to understand what was happening, unable to assist our father in his final leave-taking. The nursing staff was always changing. No one gave us the information we needed and we were unaware that hospice support existed. Nothing would have made my father's death easier to accept, but knowledge and support could have made his passage less fearful for him and less agonizing for us. After that experience, and ever since I learned hospice care services existed, I had...
Get the full story

Why We Volunteer

Three weeks ago a gentlemen came in to Second Story Treasures with donations from his Mom who passed at our Hospice. I started talking to him about his journey with mom. As we talked tears were running and after we finished I said, “I think you need a hug”, and he replied, “Oh, yes, please”. So today on my shift he reappeared with the end of his mom’s belongings and said “Do you remember me, as you were the one who gave me a hug?” I thanked him for the donations and as he was leaving he turned to me and said “Do you think I can have another hug?” and I replied, “Sure you can.” Volunteering at Second Story is a bit different than other thrift stores as most people donating to us have been touched by a loved one, cared for at our Hospice residence. Thanking you for giving me the opportunity to give back. Pat Anderson Thrift Store/Client Volunteer
Get the full story

A Volunteer’s Perspective on Second Story Treasures – “The Store”

Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has made a tremendous difference in my life. I feel a real connection to the community and I've gained immeasurably from the support I've received from my fellow volunteers. We are a team - and it feels like "family". Our thrift store relies on members of the community to bring us "good stuff" that they no longer use. Our team sorts-tests-steams-packages-polishes and hangs the donations for sale in our store. Through this effort we are able to provide quality items at low cost to those who are on limited budgets. As well, we often have unique items that are either collectibles or conversation pieces. We have been known to harbour unique "treasures". The proceeds of our efforts fund Langley Hospice. If you have thought about volunteering in the community, check us out. Our operation is very organized and therefore, very productive. We complete every shift with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction - well, almost every one!!! Being part of...
Get the full story

The Top 10 Reasons I Volunteer at the Langley Hospice Second Story Treasures Thrift Store

1. I respect and admire the work that Langley Hospice Society does. 2. I love volunteering because it is my chance to give something back to the community. 3. I like the management and the fact that they are well-organized. 4. I like my fellow volunteers.  We have fun! 5. I enjoy meeting new people. 6. I am proud of Wayne, my husband, who is Mr. Fix It at the store on Monday mornings. 7. I am a shopper who loves clothes and each day I am impressed with the quality of the donations that    come in the door. Note:  I must wait, like everyone else, to purchase any item after it has been priced and displayed in the store. 8. I get out of the house. 9. I get a coffee break - often with goodies! 10. I feel appreciated. Colleen McLaren Second Story Treasures Thrift Store Volunteer
Get the full story

Transitions

Birth or death? There was a birth certainly we had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different. T.S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi When I was in my childbearing years and having my own babies I became fascinated by the strength, both physically and emotionally, that mothers inherently possess. During my work as a doula (birth assistant) I became aware that some of my fascination was in part due to the miracle of birth, the transition from spirit, or non-existent person, to a person who is now on the path of mortality. Perhaps I was drawn to be a hospice volunteer due to a similar fascination. The journey that a person goes through from an existing individual to spirit or non-existence. Birth and death tie mankind to the unknown. I have had the opportunity to support women and families in their choices during labour and to be included in their celebration of birth. For that I am extremely grateful. I hope that I can be of some comfort to those...
Get the full story

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Click for more information

Events