Volunteer Stories

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...

A Poem about the Hospice Thrift Store

YOU should come and visit us in our Hospice Store It might be secondhand to you but you'll find so much more Nice clothes, dishes, pots and pans, Toys for boys and girls Hats, gloves and jewellery MAYBE even pearls Listen to the volunteers, all friends, working and having fun There are so many things to do - the work is never done So bring a friend and spend some time strolling through our store, And you will find it is really so, so MUCH MORE… Gerry Jarvis Thrift Store Volunteer

A Gift to Yourself!

I used to think of volunteering as giving, which it is. Now I also think of it as receiving. Personally receiving the joy of working with such amazing women, and the sense of doing something important for a good cause. Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has been a great experience for me. I look forward to Tuesday afternoon and can't wait to see what treasures are ready for inspection. The women I work with are also treasures. What a wonderful group! My Mother left me with some good advice. In your life you need three things. Someone to Love, Something to do, and Something to look forward to. Well I love my Tuesday ladies, they keep me busy with something to do, and I really do look forward to it!! Volunteering is a gift to yourself! Sue Westhaver Thrift Store Volunteer

You Volunteer at Hospice?!

You volunteer at Hospice?!! Isn't that depressing??? These are statements that I hear often. To me volunteering at Hospice is an honour. Do I find it depressing? Absolutely not!! It is an honour to be part of one's journey. Life has a beginning, middle, and an ending. There are no exceptions. As a volunteer I become part of the final journey. It is not my place to grieve, for their death is not my personal loss. It is my place to provide comfort, a listening ear and a gentle touch. It is my place to be available for family members - to provide a hug when requested and a hand to reach out and hold while they express their sorrow and loss. To the dying I am available with a smile and undivided attention. I listen to stories of lives lived, the challenges fought and won or lost, the joys of family and accomplishments and the sorrow of mistakes and missed opportunities. The dying share thoughts that they need to speak of, to release burdens they have carried and cannot divulge to their...

Being a Hospice Volunteer

When my beloved husband was dying of colon cancer in1998, after an almost five-year struggle, Dorscie Paterson from Langley Hospice Society reached out to me, in Langley Memorial, and made me aware of this wonderful group. Each evening when I returned home from the hospital, there was an encouraging message from Dorscie that really helped ease my pain and grief.... I decided then that I wanted to know more about and become involved with "this Hospice stuff". After taking the hospice training, my first job as a volunteer was working in the office, answering the phones, and running off thousands of pages of Hospice Brochures to be distributed throughout the community. From there I started doing "One on One" visiting in the home with our bereavement clients. This led me into Palliative Care in the Hospital, and then into our beautiful Hospice Residence visiting the patients. The years have flown by and I have met the most delightful people along the way, including the patients and their...

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...

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...

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...

Volunteer Viewpoint

When I tell people I am a volunteer at the Langley Hospice Society they always ask: “what do you do there?” When I introduce myself to a new resident and/or their families they always want to know what the volunteers do. There is the explanation that volunteers will help in any way they can – make coffee and tea, do dishes, sit with people, play cards, talk, listen, hold a hand, and give tours or whatever needs to be done. What I would really like to tell people is what volunteers do is give thanks and be grateful. We are thankful that residents and/or family members will let us into their lives. We are grateful that they will turn to us when they need someone to talk to. We are thankful that they allow us to be with them at this crucial time in their lives. We are grateful they make us feel needed and welcome. We are grateful when they are thinking about the end of life and they share their wisdom with us about what is really important in life. We are thankful when we are there for...

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...

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

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