Life, lemons, and loss…

I really don’t know how all this transpired. When I started volunteering at the hospice just a few short months ago, there were three people there that were there to be in charge of the volunteers. I don’t know if many people know this but 5% of patient care hours have to be done by volunteers. It’s mandated. And the hospital that I’m volunteering at is fairly large. The larger a company/business/etc is … I feel the more disconnect there is between those that are higher up and those that are lower on the totem pole. The issue with this is the corporate/business mind looks at the bottom line, whereas hospice looks at the people.

These are people who are facing their last goodbyes, last breaths, last dreams, last chances to breathe life in and savour all those moments that are in it.

Three people were in charge of us all when I started. One left to go somewhere else, but they never replaced her. So then two people were doing the work of three. There are over 100 volunteers and not only that all the patients that the volunteers help. The coordinators are the bridge between those two worlds. It was already being felt… the loss of one person.

And then just this last week over a hundred people were let go. And another one out of our hospice. So now the work of three people is down to only one. And she realized that with her health the way that it is (she is a transplant recipient of 20 years), there was no way she could continue. And with that she gave her 30 day notice.

And now, I am in this really confusing place. What was supposed to be an amazing opportunity has somehow turned into a place of sadness and people feeling very lost as to what is going to happen. Most of the volunteers don’t know about her leaving. She only told me because she was hoping I could be hired in the interim until they find a replacement for her. But it seems unlikely that will happen considering I lack experience and also with the downsizing.

I’m doing my best to fill in the gaps and to soak up as much experience as I can. It’s really unfortunate that all this happened. And I’m not quite sure what journey I will be going on next. But I will just continue on because I am sure that I am supposed to be there and that I may not see it now, but all of it will work itself out for the good.

I’m saddened for the volunteers who believe in the cause of this whole program and who will undoubtedly be affected by all of this. I’m saddened for the patients who have come to rely upon this program and what it does for their lives as well as the lives of their families and loved ones.

I’m not sure people really understand what the heart of hospice means unless they’ve experienced it themselves. Why does empathy only seem to come these days from those who have gone through something similar? Isn’t the idea of empathy that regardless if you’ve faced the same trial or not, you’re able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes or at the very least recognize the feelings of others?

We shouldn’t have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes in order to see one another’s humanity. We are all broken, hurt, messed up people. We have all experienced some sort of pain or loss or love or something that makes us human.

I’m not sure how to finish this except to say, here’s to HOPE…..


2 thoughts on “Life, lemons, and loss…

  1. That sounds really hard. Hospice care is powerful work and it’s very hard to do when there is chaos and confusion going on. People need some support, some stability, in order to give of themselves. I hope it all straightens itself out.

    • Thank you for your encouragement… It’s just all so unfortunate. The volunteers and the sense of community there was such a beautiful thing… To sit with those patients and their families while they’re experiencing such a trying time…. I really hate what made this program special fall apart. The volunteers in the office have lost that spark of what made them feel like what they were doing meant something… Now they just feel like unpaid labour.

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