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 thought about it. However, the first time I started to have some feelings about this dying process was in January: the uncontrolled feeling when we get old. I remembered when I helped Jenny, an aide, to turn this old lady, she said she was thirsty and wanted some water, so Jenny grabbed a cup of water with a straw and tried to let her suck up the water. However, she failed to do so, so they found a syringe and injected the water into her mouth. This experience doesn’t sound special, but that day when I got home I felt really sad, I couldn’t believe it. Right now, I’m 20 years old, and I can drink water whenever I want. I don’t need people to help me, but when I get older, and I can’t control myself, even if the water is right in front of me, I just can’t drink it. It’s like having a thirsty traveler in the desert and put a bottle of water in front of him, but he doesn’t have the strength to open the bottle. This was the first time I started to realize what having no control really means.
Another thing I learned was the impermanence of life. There was a girl, Cathy, she stayed in room 816 several weeks in March because of cancer. However, she was only 29 years old. Usually, patients in hospice are old, most of them are around 70 years old. Patients under 50 were considered young, and this young lady was only 27. Her family said they will take care of her and her parents only speak Chinese, so usually volunteers didn’t have a chance to communicate with them. Fortunately, I speak Chinese, so I’ve talked to her family few times. I felt that her family is compromising Cathy’s death, because they can’t do anything for her, except for staying with her. I have an idol who is also 29 years old; he is doing great in his career, winning many awards in several ceremonies, but this lady is dying in the room. I suddenly felt that life is impermanent. When Cathy was 20, she probably didn’t think that she would die 9 years later, her parents wouldn’t think about this either. Cathy even got married, her life just started, but it’s quickly ending. I really feel sad, and think that appreciating what I have now and living in the moment are the most important things.
“Death and dying” is not a simple topic, and I feel that it takes time to realize it. I’ve been doing this hospice volunteer program for my whole sophomore year, but I only started to learn something from the second semester. I’m glad to know about death and dying at this young age and it was great to know all these wonderful staff members and work with them; they really care about their patients.