I'm a hospice volunteer. I've been volunteering for Wings of Hope Hospice and Palliative Care here in Allegan for about 12 years. Sometime, later, I'll tell you what lead me to hospice.
I work exclusively in bereavement support. 99% of what I do is done over the phone. We try, as best we can, to stay in touch with families for 13 months after death occurs.
I say 99% because sometimes I make it to the support meetings we hold in the area. I'm also very honored to sing at our "Evening of Remembrance" every fall and am often a small group leader at our "Coping with the Holidays."
I am very proud to be associated with our hospice. I am very proud of the fact that our bereavement services are open to anyone - whether their family member/friend died in our care or not. No matter how long ago the death occurred. We have an "open door" policy.
Most of my calls are checking up on family members; asking them how they are getting along. How were the holidays? - I know his/her birthday was last week, how did that day go for you? How long were you two married? How did you meet? etc.
I have "met" many, many wonderful people during my telephone conversations.
When I tell people that I'm a hospice volunteer in bereavement they often say, "Wow, how do you do that? I know I couldn't." Well, first off - I'm on the phone so I don't have to worry about shedding a tear which happens now and then. I'm a big cry baby; I don't think I would do well face-to-face.
Secondly - I always say, and I truly mean it, I get way more than I give.
I guess the seed was planted a long time ago as my mother was in the very first class of hospice volunteers.
Thanks, mom. It was many years later, however, that I finally took the leap - for an entirely different reason.
Petey is also a hospice volunteer. He's the "yard boy." Everyone at hospice says the property has never looked so good. He's a meticulous sucker.
I've been on the receiving end of hospice care in that my father was served by our local hospice and my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law died in hospice care out east. I was grateful for the wonderful attention they all received.
If you're looking to help out in your community in any way, think about hospice. There's always something to do.