When people hear I am a volunteer for Hospice of the Northwest, I often get remarks like, “Oh, you are so good to do that!” or “That must be so hard for you.” The truth is, being a volunteer feeds me and inspires me – possibly even benefiting me more than the patients and families I visit.
You see, my father and brother both died suddenly when I was in my early 20’s and 30’s. Their deaths were so sudden; there wasn’t enough time to say what I wished they had been able to hear. This type of grief has left me with a deep understanding and a compassionate heart for families dealing with losing the ones they love. In this role as a volunteer, the presence and companionship I provide for patients and families fills the hole in my heart that was left long ago from my own losses.
I find this experience is not so unusual. Hospice volunteers do have a heart for those in a sudden, unexpected place. Their wish is to make it better, if only by respectfully walking alongside their patients on this journey and helping in any way that soothes.
I’ve discovered that the most important part of this work is having respect for and acceptance of what the patient and family feel they need. We have been given excellent training and many resources for various activities to help the families we serve, so each time we visit we are able to make a difference. It is a privilege and a blessing to be companions to our patients, to provide respite care for their caregivers, and to hear their amazing life stories.
About Hospice of the Northwest
We are a skilled, caring, and compassionate team of doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, aides, volunteers and generous community donors.
Together we provide patient-centered care for people facing serious illness. We’ve been serving the residents of Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish Counties since 1989 and want to know how we can support you or your loved one.