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,
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,