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”


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”


Meaning in Life and Death Through Emotional Closure

Death was never an end, to me. Because of my spiritual foundation, I have always looked at death as a misunderstood gateway to another state, a new existence that no one quite fully understands. As I went through this program, I realized my one-sided and inexperienced perspective of death was deficient in much of the … Continue reading “Meaning in Life and Death Through Emotional Closure”


Not Just a Crossword

Death. It’s a scary word to most of us, with it comes fear, worry, and suspense. Once people become old enough to understand death’s extent, death’s impact, the fear seems to grow, presenting itself in various ways. When I began as a volunteer in the VA Hospice, I expected myself to be fearful, and I … Continue reading “Not Just a Crossword”


No Regrets

Volunteering at a hospice has taught me a great deal about death and dying. Before, death was always a rather taboo subject. I did not want to think about it. Even though death and dying is inevitable for everyone, I took the approach that if I did not think about it, it cannot be true. … Continue reading “No Regrets”


Eyes-A Deceitful Reflection

The eyes are but a reflection. It warps our perception of the world and is the lens through which we perceive life. Likewise, when we look at a person, we are never certain of the stories that lie behind those eyes. Even when listening to a story, the eyes that may seem to convey a … Continue reading “Eyes-A Deceitful Reflection”


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”


The Importance of Listening

As a pre medical student over the past four years at the University of Pittsburgh, I have gone through bouts of uncertainty as to if I should pursue a career in the medical field. I have always enjoyed science courses and discovering how things work, however, I was worried about whether the sacrifices would be … Continue reading “The Importance of Listening”


Cultivating Compassion in Medicine

Unconditional love is a dwindling privilege. I was blessed with a formidable support system. My grandma considered me as her “weakness,” but I always strive to be her strength as she was to me. Last year was the last time I saw her. Disheveled, emaciated, forlorn. Trying to memorize her face was futile. My mind … Continue reading “Cultivating Compassion in Medicine”