- GRIEF SUPPORT
- EVENTS & RESOURCES
- PATIENT REFERRALS
Throughout my life, I have volunteered for many organizations. Each experience offered something special: a giving from the heart, a chance to share my time—often just a few hours, sometimes days or weeks. But Hope Hospice is a place that draws me back time and again. From the first day of orientation, I got the sense that I had entered into a relationship that would grow and evolve over time. Hope has embraced that which I have to offer. My gifts have been woven into the fabric that is Hope.
I came to Hope after a 30-plus-year career as a physical therapist. I knew healthcare. I had worked side-by-side with some of the most gifted clinicians in the industry. The last patient I saw as a therapist inspired me to become a hospice volunteer. This is a story of love and friendship.
Weak and very frail from months of illness, Richard* returned home from the hospital to find that his beloved garden had been planted and lovingly cared for by his dearest friend. The friend recognized that Richard was too weak to care for himself, so he became his caregiver, helping with cooking, cleaning, personal care, and gardening.
Even as a frail man, Richard was larger than life. He had a gregarious and positive personality. He set goals to walk and hold his granddaughter, due to be born in January. Richard’s physical therapy began shortly after his discharge from the hospital. Standing required the support of two people: I was one, and Richard’s friend was right there to help. Short and difficult sessions of standing were punctuated with long rest sessions filled with storytelling and laughter of two lifelong friends.
Although Richard never walked again, he achieved his goal of meeting his son’s first child. He was too weak to travel, but Richard heard the coos of his granddaughter over the phone, which his friend held up to his ear. Richard said goodbye to his son, quietly shared the moment with his friend, and drifted off to sleep. He died the next day with his friend by his side.
Several months later, Richard’s friend gave me a gift from the garden, which I planted in my yard. Every so often, I take a clipping and plant it in a new pot. When it blooms, I give it to a new friend or a person in need, because that is what Richard would have wanted—to share the love.
We now grow these plants and give them to Hope patients. At the end of life, when energy is precious, our patients can still be a part of lovingly caring for their plants and pass a piece of them on to someone.
I am grateful that Hope welcomes the uniqueness that each of us brings to the care team. As my talents and abilities evolve over time, I know I will always have a place at Hope.
* patient’s name has been changed for privacy