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”


You’re not alone

This year, I heard death’s knock on my door more than I ever had before. I experienced the fragility of life both personally and professionally. It became real to me in a way it wasn’t in the past. My first patient through Ascend was sad in a way I was not used to. I have … Continue reading “You’re not alone”


Understanding Death and Dying

As Janet and Carl were in the back of the car on their way to meet a patient, Kate, that we had been told could be quite hostile and angry when visitors arrived, there was certainly an air of uneasiness. I do not think either Janet or Carl were necessarily scared, just anxious about the … Continue reading “Understanding Death and Dying”


As comfort is provided with loved ones near, We learn to love all that we hear.

The word “death” through my first 20 years of life has held continually evolving meanings. Throughout childhood, the concept of death was terrifying for me. My overall good-natured, innocent self, coupled with strict obedience to my parents and our religion had me believing myself to be on a straight-track to heaven; a salvation in the … Continue reading “As comfort is provided with loved ones near, We learn to love all that we hear.”


Becoming Comfortable with Death

At the beginning of this year, I was both nervous and excited to participate in this program. Even though I had experiences with death in the past, I never took the time to think and talk about death in such an intimate way as I did in this program. Interacting with hospice patients and their … Continue reading “Becoming Comfortable with Death”


Always Connected In Spirit

It was a typical Wednesday morning when my 9:00AM alarm went off. “Ugh, do I really have to go today?” I thought to myself, as I knew I would have to volunteer at the hospice later that day. When I arrived at the Center for Acute Hospice Care, the nurses asked me to speak with … Continue reading “Always Connected In Spirit”


Death and Dying: A Topic I can now cope with

Before I started volunteering with Ascend Hospice this year, death was an unfamiliar and scary topic for me to consider. I have not had a close family member or friend pass away in my lifetime, so I did not have the experience of dealing with my own emotions concerning death. I always thought of it … Continue reading “Death and Dying: A Topic I can now cope with”


死 -OR- Understanding why we sĭ

In most cultures, there are a few numbers that are considered unlucky. One example is triskaidekaphobia, a long name for a common fear in the US – the fear of the number 13. There are hotels that skip the 13th floor and shooting ranges that have a 12, 12a, and 14th booth. I never understood … Continue reading “死 -OR- Understanding why we sĭ”


Dying, Death, and the Gift of it all

I have found that my most meaningful hospice relationships were more transient interactions with patients; small reminders that even as the body is wearing down, that the spirit within isn’t gone. I can recall many instances of walking into a patient’s room to ask if they needed anything and getting a whip-like response to what … Continue reading “Dying, Death, and the Gift of it all”