Volunteering in hospice has opened me up to so many truths that have been tucked away in me for probably my lifetime. Each time I go in for my shift I leave a more grounded and whole being. I know for sure that the gifts I receive from my time with those who are dying are worth every second of fear and uncertainty.
- Intimacy. I have witnessed the most beautiful moments of intimacy. The tenderness and quietness shared between people during this process is remarkable. I have been privilege to be in the room during intense moments have cracked me open. Watching as the spouse rests his head on her pillow, the tender reassurance a daughter gives her father and the simple hand-holding between partners. I have learned how special moments of intimacy can be.
- Noise. Some families choose to have the television on for their loved ones during this process. Perhaps this is their own way of distracting themselves and coping, or maybe it is just a habit to have noise on. The gift in observing this is that I know that when I die, I do not want the noise of news or television to be my last few days. I want to hear my beloved speak to me, listen to the voices of my children and simply hear my breath.
- Embrace. I have seen people in the dying process struggling with the reconciliation between mind and body. It is an often long and grueling process of letting go and embracing the comfort of what may be next. I want to make sure that I have created peace with myself and others each and every day because we never know when we may be having to reconcile. I want to know that I have left no unfinished business every day and embrace my life, including my death.
- Identity. Watching people through this process it is evident that although memories and life experiences are part of who we are, at the moments of death it all really does not matter. All of the awards and accolades go away. All of the labels and titles fade. What is left is the peeled away and raw soul. No longer is it important what identity we have given ourselves or have been given by others. We simply are. I want to live each day without labels or definitions. I just want to be.
- Love. Give love. Receive love. Be love. Seeing the young people and lives yet to be fully lived, I know for sure I want to live my life in way where love is embodies my actions, my thoughts and my words. I want to love myself and others in a way as if today was my last day. Life is a precious and incredibly short experience that is often so wasted on petty arguments and judgements. Just love.