I grew up wanting to entertain. With my family as my audience, I used to sing, dance and reenact every scene from Grease, Newsies and Les Misérables as many times as they would let me. I knew that being a part of the entertainment industry was something I had to do and I would stop at nothing to get there. Amongst all my dreams and passions, never did I think a love for hospice would enter and hold a top rank in my life.
About five years ago, I had developed this overwhelming feeling that was gnawing at me, telling me that something was missing from my life. There was a void that I needed to fill. Besides wanting to become an actress I had always dreamed of working, helping and being around children; so I sat down one night and started searching for some volunteer work with kids on the internet.
As I was searching, the word "hospice" popped up. I had a rough idea of what Hospice was but my knowledge kind of ended there. According to my friends and family, I have always had a fascination with death and dying. They called it "morbid." Whatever and why it was, reading what I did, had peaked my interest. I decided to give them a call and sign up for the volunteer training course. During those three weeks of training every Saturday and Sunday, I came to find that hospice in fact is not "morbid," and on the contrary, it is a very beautiful thing.
The feeling I had when leaving each session blew me away; I instantly knew this was what I needed to be doing in my life. Hospice to most has such a negative connotation, which is so unfortunate. Each session I found was spiritually uplifting to me. It gave me more meaning to the word "life" than I had ever found elsewhere.
Think about it: "No one dies alone." That was their slogan. No one deserves to die alone. No matter who you are, you deserve to have someone by your side. And as a volunteer with hospice, we provide that love, comfort and respect.
I learned so much and realized that it is just as important to help those leaving this world as it is to help those coming into it. It is all just one giant circle of life and every step is equally as important. Once I passed through my training and started getting assigned to my patients, my love for this work grew even deeper. Being a part of this last phase of someone's life is a feeling like no other. Listening to them, holding their hand or reading to them offers such a lovely connection for both parties involved. Being so heavily involved with hospice completely enhanced my life and truly made me want to live every day to its full potential. I want to be that person when I am 90 years old who has the exciting, titillating stories to tell of travel and love and romance. Hospice has brought such a light in my life, it is something I will be involved with until I need hospice myself.
I came home one day after working a funeral and exclaimed, "That's it! I am quitting acting! I am going to be a funeral director!" Needless to say, that didn't happen, but it is good to know I always have a backup plan.
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