In addition to being a retired educator and author of the book, Just Behind the Door, I volunteer for various charities. One of these charities includes being a Hospice volunteer. Some people say to me, “Oh, that must be hard, depressing. I could never do that.” I tell them that when you are with people that realize their time is close, the real meaning of life comes through as they let down their ego and just communicate from their heart. To me, working with a patient gives me joy. It is not something I think that I HAVE to do but rather something I really CHOOSE to do. I look forward to seeing them on my regular weekly visits. Toward the end, they tell you from their heart what they think about their lives, what has been important to them and even things that they see clearer now. What a gift these wonderful people are to me.
The remember the joy in their lives. They are grateful for even the smallest gesture. Interestingly, even those who originally did not espouse a particular religion or belief become more conscious of their closeness to the Divine Energy/God. You can see it in their faces. At first, they want to know about world events, about your life and other connections to the outside world. As the months tick off and they realize they are getting weaker they want to talk about what the end will be like for them. Although their relationship with others is very important to them, they want to reflect on their own lives. As a volunteer you become their life line to the outside world and, ultimately, to themselves. The few things that are left that can make them happy are simple; food, books, writing notes to their friends, and most importantly, listening to them as they remember – with gratitude their life and what they have learned on their journey. They dare to look at you and ask, “What will the end be like for me.”
We are trained to see watch for the gradual progression in these wonderful souls. During the training many things made an impact on me. One of these points, in particular, however, stands out. We are taught that people die as they live. When I first heard that I had to think about it for some time. Now, as I have worked with quite a few of these patients it has become clearer to me. We really do die as we live.
Think about that in reference to your own life. It can be a life changing moment when you take the time to consider it.