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 loved ones. They share knowing instinctively that I will not speak to others of their secrets. I listen to them speak of their loved ones that have gone before them. I listen to them speak to the angels that wait for them.

I am there to gently caress their hands to assure them they are not alone. I join them in whatever beliefs they hold, for it is their beliefs that hold the importance in this final journey, not mine. I am there to smooth their foreheads and tell them I care. How can all this be depressing? The honour and the joy that I get from being a volunteer are insurmountable. To be a part of the final journey, to be a tiny part of their lives knowing I give comfort and support is all I need to continue to be a Hospice volunteer.

Maureen Airey
Client Volunteer