When I tell people I own a hospice, as well as a consulting company for end of life support, I invariably hear, “That has to be hard, I don’t know how you do that?” or “I really admire you, I could never do that”. From time to time I even get, “How morbid. Why on earth would you do that?” (That last one is my favorite to answer by the way).
I do what I do because death and dying is where life becomes real. People are raw and completely authentic for one of those rare moments in life. I work with some of the most intense emotions known to us as I support patients and families as they maneuver through end of life. I’m with people all day at their heart’s level. It doesn’t matter if I’m seeing a client or working with the Promise staff as they care for patient. Everything is linked to a human being leaving this world and leaving loved ones behind, to pick up the pieces of their life.
Envision yourself lost in the ocean, the water tumultuous, spinning one way and then another. As you try to find the direction you need to go, you get smacked in the face with a wave that leaves you breathless and lost. You open your mouth to yell for help as another wave hits you as you breathe in water. You sink underwater being flipped upside down, drug one way, and then another way, the whole time without air. You’re panicked, lost, scared and so cold. Then, out of nowhere, a life raft is thrown out to you. You grab ahold as you try to find solid ground somewhere, anywhere. The raft can’t take away pain or fear, or even fix your surroundings. What the raft does is steady you, take some of your worry from you, stays with you without faulting until you get to the place you need to be.
As a patient or family member you are lost at sea, and I am your life raft assisting you to find solid ground. THAT is why I respond by saying that it’s such an honor to walk with people during their rawest moments and when their hearts are wide open. It’s a gift and a privilege that changes how I live every single day.
I’m grateful for all of the families and patient’s Promise Hospice has served. My hope is that we make as much of a difference in your life, as you do in ours.