The Day I Met Poverty

In 1998 I was a newly certified hospice volunteer. My third assignment had me pulling into a dirt driveway off a well traveled road only forty minutes from my home. As I parked my car I tried to look for the house number to confirm that this was indeed the right place as this was…

Shared Story from Steven

My mom passed away a little over 2 years ago in South Florida (where my people go to die).  She was 96 and had lived long enough to outlive most of her family and her friends.  She was ready. Once when a doctor told her she would live to be 100, she told him, “Don’t…

Acceptance in the Now

I’ve had many interesting conversations with patients over the years, some of whom had rather different backgrounds from me to put it mildly. I remember one man in particular, much taller than me, mid forties, arms covered in gang tattoos, missing teeth, and thin as a rail. “You wouldn’t have liked the old me, Katarina”…

Turn Left Here

Was thinking back today of when a coworker of mine, an older nurse, had lost her husband of forty something years. She had just returned to work after taking some time off to grieve her loss. We were all particularly apprehensive when she came back as she had lost her son only a year before…

Making the Most of Each Visit

I met the greatest family one time when their mother had come to the hospice house for a brief stay to manage some pain issues she was having. Their mom had been diagnosed with cancer two months earlier and given six months to live. At the time I met her she was doing well, able…

My Favorite Memory

There is a memory that stands out when I think back on the time of my dad’s death. The evening when we called everyone to his bedside because we thought he was about to pass at any moment. My brother, sisters, mother and I crowded around his bed, and then, spontaneously, the ‘ I remember…