Tell someone you work for hospice and you’re likely to get one of two responses. The most frequent is, “You people are angels! I don’t know how you do what you do but God bless you for doing it.” This is normally followed by “My mother (father, husband, brother, friend) was in hospice and the care they got was wonderful….”
The second reaction is, “Wow!” followed by a slight but perceptible shift in the room temperature to a cooler setting and a discomfort that generally stems from a reluctance to discuss any aspect of death or a bad experience with hospice. It is normally the former but it can be the latter. People do have bad experiences with hospice which is truly a sad thing to say because death, I have learned, is a wondrous thing and to participate in the passing of someone from this world to the next can be a beautiful and positive thing.
Part of the reason I have started this blog is to share some of my hospice experiences.When I share them verbally with family and friends there is always a sense of wonder and amazement at the work that I do. More than one person has said, “you should write a book”. Perhaps, one day. For the present time we’ll start with a blog.
I presently work as a grief specialist — a counselor of sorts. I’ve had this job with hospice for about one year. Prior to that I was a hospice house nurse for four years. I truly loved that job but as I start cruising through my 60s I find that 12-hour nursing shifts are harder and harder. My current job allows for the same satisfaction of helping without the physical demands of nursing. Win, win.