In 2002, I spent a month with my sister in a Duluth, Georgia Hospice. Gail was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (rare, degenerative brain disorder) in mid-July and died in September. We shared a room growing up, as young women before we married and shared a room on her final journey.
We had gone full circle. The Hospice was a warm caring environment for all family members and patients. It was this experience with my sister that eventually led me to look into what I could do for hospice here in Langley. I became a Hospice volunteer almost 6.5 years ago; I started off by helping with the newsletter. Then when a sewing group started, I was asked to join, although at the time I was not a sewer. I took sewing lessons and then quilting lessons. We make quilts for children going through the grieving process. When a child goes through bereavement support, either individually or in a group, he/she receives a comfort quilt at the end of their program. I also help out with special events such as Celebrate-a-Life at the mall during the Christmas holidays.
I then decided to take the Hospice training to be able to accompany the dying and their families and first started volunteering at Langley Memorial, then the Hospice facility when it opened in June, 2005. Volunteering at the Hospice facility has been such a rewarding experience. The staff have become friends and I admire what they do. Each time I visit as a client volunteer I receive much more than I give.
We initiated a tea cart a few years ago and I was fortunate to be involved. It brings smiles from the patients, their families and the staff. It has been a blessing to be able to accompany so many wonderful people on their last journey. Sometimes it has been very personal as a good friend was in Hospice as well as a friend’s mother. If you volunteer with Hospice your heart will be touched in many wonderful ways.