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.”

Meaningful Relations

I have been a hospice volunteer for about two semesters and I have gotten to know some of the most beautiful individuals. I have had the wonderful opportunity to make meaningful relationships with Mr. McBride, Anita, and Helena. Mr. McBride is an amazing human being who has lived with many decades of history. He is … Continue reading “Meaningful Relations”

My First Hospice Experience

I remember how nervous I felt before starting hospice volunteering because the concept of death was very frightening to me. During my senior year of high school, I lost my grandpa. Experiencing my first loss from someone that was so close to me was unbelievably hard. It made me question whether I could even go … Continue reading “My First Hospice Experience”

An Unexpected Friend

One of my most meaningful hospice relationships formed about halfway through my experience as a volunteer this past year. It was a pretty slow day so I was helping with random office work behind the front desk during the first half of my shift. As I was doing office work with one of the other … Continue reading “An Unexpected Friend”

How Visiting a Hospice Patient Let Me Revisit The Concept of Death

I have been lucky during my hospice experience to have the same patient since I was assigned her in November. I have been able to visit her fourteen times. The first day I was so nervous to go in her room and meet her. I wondered if she would know why I was there; I … Continue reading “How Visiting a Hospice Patient Let Me Revisit The Concept of Death”