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 the intimate moments and we can help to bring some comfort. We are grateful when they allow us to witness them going in and out of this world and into the next one. We are thankful when we can help in any way at all. We are grateful when we know they are at peace.

It’s ironic that people are always thanking the volunteers when it’s the volunteers who are thankful. Without the residents and their families allowing us to share in this very private time we would not have anything to do.

Bonnie Kiyon

Hospice Residence Volunteer