Women with a strong desire to help others, inspired, excited, and passionate is the definition of Liz Sansom, Licensed Master Social Worker and Tess Krueger, Board Certified Chaplain, combined. These women have collaborated during their careers with Heart ‘n Home Hospice and have recently developed a Bereavement Volunteer Training that is both informational and practical. I interviewed both women to see where they got the passion for this work.
Liz Sansom came to Heart ‘n Home Hospice after one of her grandparents was taken care of by the staff in Fruitland. “The care was short, but made a huge impact in my confidence as being a part of the care for my grandpa. While it was hard and emotional, I felt support and knew hospice was my calling. I wanted to help walk other families through this journey.”
While Tess Krueger was doing her Chaplain Residency at St. Luke’s Medical Center, she told her supervisor she was interested in specializing in hospice care. “My supervisor knew Garrett Price, The Director of Spiritual Care at Heart ‘n Home. Garrett met with me and in that short meeting I learned enough to know Heart ‘n Home was a perfect fit for me.”
Tess tells a heartfelt story of being six years old and how her grandmother’s death affected her. “My wonderful grandmother died of breast cancer in her home. Afterward, her casket was brought to her farmhouse and people came to view her all day long. The casket was beautiful and she was resting under a bright light. She looked illuminated and peaceful. Although I did not understand what it meant for her to be dead, it was a positive experience for me. I remember it as a moment of love and beauty. Today, people see death as morbid and something to shy away from.” She concludes, “In a perfect world, I would like to see a class on death and dying for high school students.”
Both Liz and Tess feel death and dying are a sacred part of living. Tess believes “we die the way we lived and if we understand we can live the way we want to die, we can be more intentional and not fear death.” Liz feels like our culture is youth-oriented and wants to deny the natural aspects of living and dying. “If we are not able to acknowledge how beautiful and sacred the end-of-life journey can be, we will continue to be scared of this aspect of life.”
Liz continues by saying, “I would love to see a shift where death and dying become as normalized as the birth process. Knowledge is powerful and can take the fear out of a difficult situation. I feel that a healthy shift in our culture would be in how we grieve and if we could view death and dying as a natural part of the human experience.” Tess agrees, “Our culture fears death and believes if we could find a way to normalize the life event of dying, we would be able to deal with the grief of loss more effectively.”
Each of these women has a different focus within their careers, but both understand the meaning of life and death and they work to show others the way through their life journeys. If you, like these two ladies, understand that life should be affirmed and celebrated even at the end of life and you would like to join an amazing hospice team visit our website and check out our current openings. You can join a team that is passionate about helping others during one of the most difficult times of their lives. You will work for a company that ensures all patients get legendary care, but also ensures that all employees are taken care of as well. Find your forever career by working with Heart ‘n Home Hospice!
Liz Sansom, LMSW Tess Krueger, BCC, MAR, MDiv