When I first applied to become a hospice volunteer it was because of my Grandma. She became a hospice patient this summer at 97 years old. I ended up spending about a month with her just to keep her company. I was really glad that I did for three reasons. The first reason was that I learned so much about her, things I had never known. She has lived through the great depression, World War 2, etc. thus, she has so much knowledge to share. The second was that I could help her with day to day logistics. The third reason was that I was able to provide her with support and company when she needed it most. I applied for this hospice volunteer program so that I could provide companionship and company to others in need.
My first patient was a really nice woman but she was often sleeping and very tired. Thus, we did not spend much time talking. Sometimes I would visit and she would tell me that she just wanted to rest today, so I would leave. Other times, she would let me stay even if she was dozing off. Though I was providing a different sort of companionship I hoped that even just my presence while she was sleeping would be enough to let her know that she is not alone. I also got to meet some of her family members while she was sleeping one time. That was a nice experience for me because I got to see that even her distant relatives were there to support her which only goes to show how much of an impact she had on her loved ones.
When I found out she had passed on I was coming back from a school break. I couldn’t help but feel like I had not done enough. I spent time with her but I never got to establish a deep connection in the way I had hoped. I soon realized after thinking about it that I was letting my expectations prevent me from seeing how wonderful my experience really was. Although the relationship was different than what I had anticipated, it was still meaningful. Hopefully my presence and small talk brought her some sort of comfort. That was what I aimed to do, I just wanted to help someone in whatever way they needed it. Perhaps she just needed light company; she had family to reminisce with. Perhaps it was just comforting to not be alone for a few hours, maybe I helped her in this way.
My experience in the hospice program has made me a lot more comfortable with talking about unpleasant topics like death. My boyfriend’s grandmother just recently became a hospice patient. He is having a very difficult time coping with it. I think my experience with Seasons has really enabled me to be there for him and help him in a way that I probably couldn’t before. I am able to reassure him that she will be more comfortable this way. I understand why she is exhausted with chemo, and I stress that hospice will bring her relief. I am glad that I had this experience, and I would like to visit my patient until graduation.