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Stories

Season of hope and rebirth

A letter of compassion to hospice volunteers from their supervisor sparks a heartfelt response. You can read both letters here.

Dear Providence Hospice Volunteers,

For many of you connected so innately to our volunteer program with Providence Hospice, I’m sure that it has felt both comforting and upsetting to have to put a hold on some of your services with us during this historical period in time. Comforting in that you know we’re making tough decisions to keep you safe and healthy; upsetting because the compassion, skill-sets, and dedication you have for our patients and caregivers may feel suspended in space, strung up with question marks and maybe even fears. Please know that your level of commitment is not suspended at all; it’s still there, its ripple effects felt amidst the families we serve and the Providence teams who serve them. In addition, you’re able to practice great self-care during the pandemic, and you’re able to direct your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual resources to your immediate networks. I’d even argue that every time you smile at a stranger, say “thank you” at the grocery store, or send a text, email, or Facebook message to a loved one, you’re volunteering hope, strength, and connection. We always have a choice on how to use our resources, and with whom and when and where; no one is forcing us to offer kindness. In that sense, we’re always volunteers giving back – it’s about the way we frame it. And the shared mission that imbues your sense of self with Providence’s identity is deeply felt by the volunteers still able to serve at this time.

For the volunteers out there in homes as we speak, we thank you. For the volunteers waiting to return to their assignments with us and cheering us on, we thank you.

For the volunteer coordinators who shine a light on integrity, hard work, and building strong foundations – I thank you.

It’s a surreal time for all of us as we balance family, friends, work, community, and more. What’s proven illuminating for me is that some of the static has cleared from my internal radio. While I’m tired to the bone in many ways, I also feel clear and steady in purpose. Part of what keeps me feeling strong and healed during the pandemic is all of you. Whether you’ve been with us for fifteen years or you just completed a training this past February, you’re one of us, and vice versa. Across identities, backgrounds, and beliefs, we are joined in light, on behalf of Life.

With Regards & Respect,
Nathan

Lauralie's response

Dear Nathan,

Thank you for your beautiful letter of compassion and care. I feel a huge sense of loss without my hospice volunteer visits. I think of what hospice or comfort care that Covid patients might receive (or not) and grieve with the families who are cut off from their loved ones.

I have found that my hospice skillset and experience has been so helpful as I talk to my young, Salem Health RN daughter. We usually debrief about her shift when she comes home, and yesterday she said how the hospital was not doing anything to let patients and their loved ones say goodbye or have any updates on the patients‘ condition.

The times she has called (without a protocol set in place) the family was so grateful to hear about how their family member was doing. She said many times the patients are dropped off at the door of the ED and the family doesn’t hear from or about them until after they have passed.

She is going back to work later this week with a new protocol idea, which will hopefully make an impact on her floor and be put in practice.

Why am I sharing this? Because hospice has given me a whole new way at looking at healthcare, the sick, the dying, and healthcare providers. It has made me a more active listener in all facets of my life. I feel that I am contributing in a small but important way, when I remind my tired and stressed daughter about a simple hospice phone call as well as giving her own ideas validation. I am sure that vigil visits are not allowed, but a small phone call would be so comforting.

I am so looking forward to returning to my hospice work....it truly blesses my life.

In this season of hope and rebirth, I wish you peace and all good,

Lauralie Haikin