Hospice Reflection Essay

Volunteering for hospice has been an incredible experience. It has provided me with insight and knowledge in what it takes to work with people who are close to death. Before this experience, death was a hard topic to discuss. I understood it was an essential component of being a physician, but my patient experience with … Continue reading “Hospice Reflection Essay”

Dancing Around Death

Dancing Around Death Death is not an easy topic to discuss. One may think doctors, whose job encircles death, would be comfortable discussing the dreaded topic. However, it is apparent that even they struggle to find the right words when addressing a dying patient or a family who has yet to be informed that they … Continue reading “Dancing Around Death”

Live in the Moment

Live in the Moment Live in the moment and really appreciate what I have are the most central feelings after volunteering in this hospice program. This experience makes me truly feel the death and dying process. At the beginning, death was only a word to me; nothing really came up to my mind when I … Continue reading “Live in the Moment”

The Power of Presence

Before I began volunteering, I did not have a clear idea of what to expect from the hospice volunteer program. I knew that I wanted to form meaningful relationships and gain exposure to patients and the struggles that occur during this stage of life. Through volunteering, I gained new perspectives about comforting someone through their … Continue reading “The Power of Presence”

No Death is the Same

I have grown in a significant way over the course of my Hospice experience. I came into it nervous and somewhat unconfident. A situation where I encountered dying and death has never happened to me before, but it was a challenge that I was willing to take head on. The part that was so nerve-wracking … Continue reading “No Death is the Same”

Death as a Means to Life

“I have come to know that it [death] is an important thing to keep in mind — not to complain or to make melancholy, but simply because only with the honest knowledge that one day I will die I can ever truly begin to live.” —R.A. Salvatore, The Halfling’s Gem As I prepared myself to … Continue reading “Death as a Means to Life”

The Place Between Life and Death

Hospice. A place where people who deserve more than they are given go to temporarily live and permanently perish. This is what I thought hospice was before I came to the VA. A place with dejected patients, pessimistic nurses, families on the verge of collapse. And on top of that, this was a VA, a … Continue reading “The Place Between Life and Death”

Challenge and Vulnerability

One of the earliest signs of my passion for medicine came when my grandma was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I learned to be comfortable in a hospital environment from an early age. I was quickly exposed to the fragility of life when my grandma was in hospice care and gained an appreciation for the complexity … Continue reading “Challenge and Vulnerability”

Beginnings and Ends

Beginnings and Ends Katherine is always a ray of sunshine. She shines brighter than me. From her stories about traveling throughout Europe, to her descriptions of her children and grandchildren, her age and experience always shine through her conversations. Every time I talk to her, she never fails to remind me to enjoy life. Her … Continue reading “Beginnings and Ends”

I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

I can’t go on. I’ll go on. I have been visiting June this past year. She is a sweetheart. She is very kind, very considerate, and an easy woman to talk to. When I first met June with Mary (our volunteer coordinator), I was nervous. Meeting a new person with fewer than 6 months to … Continue reading “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.”