Hospice to me means validation and affirmation of life. Hospice care is an opportunity to have good experiences leading up to the end of life. The dying process can be difficult, confusing, and full of uncertainties, but when someone has access to hospice care, they can receive relief and the assistance needed during this time. When a patient is able to focus on the positives of their life, the dying process does not seem as frightening. Everyone deserves a high quality of life from beginning to the end, which is what hospice care is all about.
Before becoming a Cicely Ambassador (Youth Volunteer), I was very timid around people who were struggling, especially strangers. It was hard for me to find ways to reach out to people in need because I did not know how I would be able to help and I did not want to be a burden. After meeting my first patient, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of confidence in my own abilities to serve those in need, and I developed a love for helping others. When I felt nervous about visiting a new patient, I would stop thinking of the people as patients, but instead, view them as friends. After, I started to see from that perspective and service became a delight to me.
I’ve had the privilege to serve four different friends during my time as a Volunteer and I have enjoyed learning about their lives. It has been rewarding hearing stories from a man who rarely spoke, to communicate with a deaf man, to see a “grumpy” man light up after being gifted some flowers, and to make a sweet woman feel beautiful with a new manicure each week. I learned that each of these people has had different hardships, but they were all grateful for small acts of kindness, especially the listening ear. The simple gift of listening or the power of presence made all the difference in these peoples’ lives.
I am beyond grateful for everything that being a Cicely Ambassador has taught me. I learned the meaning of affirmation, and why it is vital in order to maintain a high quality of life. I learned that I am capable of serving others by small and simple means. I owe most of that knowledge to my time spent as a Volunteer. I would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to give back, to consider volunteering with hospice. Heart ‘n Home Hospice has a wonderful Volunteer Program and you will help affirm life.