Hospice is a safe haven
As May is palliative and hospice care month it brings me to a time of reflection.
Hospice care, according to one source “is a type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient’s pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs.”
Those are a lot of words that we can get lost in. However, when I reflect on what hospice means to me it becomes very personal and gives meaning to those words.
My first experience with hospice was on the receiving end of all that care. Nineteen years ago my husband was diagnosed with stage four Melanoma, was admitted as one of the first patients to the then, brand new Andy Moog Hospice House and spent his last days there. Needless to say it was a very difficult time for us and our three young children. In the face of all of our struggles the staff of the house brought compassion, professionalism and support into an otherwise grim time. I always felt as though they went the extra length to bring him comfort and give me some peace of mind when I wasn’t always able to be by his side.
Fast forward 13 years, my children are grown and I’m ready to give back into a program I feel very passionate about. With training sponsored by the Penticton Hospice Society I became involved as a palliative massage volunteer along with several other very capable and compassionate individuals. On a weekly basis we went into resident’s rooms within Moog and Friends Hospice House, or into their homes if they were able to remain at home, and brought a small measure of relief and support to them and their families through massage.
It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of someone’s very personal and intimate end of life journey. I feel as though I have received far more than what I have given through time spent with these people, their families and the fantastic team I worked with.
One day we will all be at the end of our earthly journey and I for one am thankful to be part of a community that has such a ‘safe haven’ of hospice.