Hospice Care and Compassion- Why It Matters

Every time I tell people I volunteer at a hospice, I get the same reaction. People are always asking me, “Isn’t that sad?” or “How can you do that?” I can never quite explain to people why my volunteering doesn’t make me depressed or cause me to fear my own mortality. I think people are … Continue reading “Hospice Care and Compassion- Why It Matters”

Hymns and Hospice

I was still a little flustered over missing my bus when I stepped into the hospice unit for my very first day of volunteering. After introducing myself to the nurses, I began working through the list of activities outlined for volunteers to complete and quickly settled into the homey environment of the unit. About halfway … Continue reading “Hymns and Hospice”

Sensible and Sensitive Thought

On my first day of hospice volunteering, I was nervous. I really didn’t want to feel afraid because I knew death was a natural occurrence. I understood that everyone has to die, and if I truly wanted to be a doctor I might have to deal with death every day. I thought to be an … Continue reading “Sensible and Sensitive Thought”

On compassion in the face of death

“Medical professionals concentrate on repair of health, not sustenance of the soul.” Upon encountering this line in Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, I became filled with regret. My grandmother had succumbed to leukemia only months prior, and her battle was harrowing. She, a healthy, able-bodied, gardening enthusiast with no signs of aging other than mild … Continue reading “On compassion in the face of death”

A New Experience with the Aging Population: the Dying

I have been volunteering with the aging population since middle school, so I jumped at the opportunity to join the Pre-Med Hospice Volunteer Program with Ascend. I have previously volunteered in nursing homes, but hospice has been an entirely different, difficult, and rewarding experience altogether. In my prior volunteer experience, I always dealt with long-term … Continue reading “A New Experience with the Aging Population: the Dying”

Death as a Friend

In our orientation meeting we chose some words we identified death with. I chose the word “friend”. I felt that death can be a wave of relief, an exit from pain, and can be a friend to those nearing it. In my hospice volunteer experience, I learned a few more things. Death comes often and … Continue reading “Death as a Friend”

inspired by the end

What does dying look like or dying well or living well are they two separate things? i would guess that it is one process that we are choosing how we will die now we seem to pick paths without evidence without RHYME without REASON and if that is true what should we do what should … Continue reading “inspired by the end”


Awakening I have had experience with hospice prior to volunteering my own time with Holisticare. My mother was admitted to hospice December 17, 2011 and she passed away 10 days later, only 2 days after Christmas surrounded by her family. She was 48 years old. “Hospice” was a word that haunted me, a word that … Continue reading “Awakening”

Overcoming the Relationship with Death

The concept of death was always something that I refused to let myself think about. It has never been considered taboo in my household or within my religion but the idea of living in a world without someone close to me always scared me. When I was younger, death was never something that affected me … Continue reading “Overcoming the Relationship with Death”

Let the light touch what is dark through faith and compassion

When I first began my hospice volunteering experience I did not expect myself to be vulnerable and learn how death is also part of the light in our lives. My whole life death to me seemed like something horrible and painful. Yet, through my volunteering with my patient and the constant discussions with Reverend R. … Continue reading “Let the light touch what is dark through faith and compassion”