Dear compassionate and caring readers,
A few months ago I found a new interest, thanks to a chance passing of a poster at our local YMCA. I learned that Providence Hospital here in Everett has an impressive number of ways to volunteer in their hospice program - everything from setting up fund-raising events to reading to a patient, from riding a motorcyle to vacuuming a house, from sewing quilts to keeping vigil while a patient passes away.
This opportunity to be part of alleviating the pain in someone's last few months, weeks, days, or minutes on earth found a certain place in my heart and intrigued me, so I attended an informational session and started gathering information on how I could be of help. (For those of you who are similarly interested - there are many ways to help and I can give you more information if you wish.)
I found they are in desperate need of sewing materials for pillows, lap quilts, blankets, mattress pads, and hospital gowns, and I posted a Facebook status asking if anybody had old clothing/sheets/shower curtains/batting/stuffing. I got several responses and I am so excited! I'm so grateful to those of you who are graciously donating materials - it means the world to somebody. The volunteer coordinator told me that their volunteer sewing teams will bring in bags of pillows, gowns, et cetera for the patients in one morning, and they'll be gone in a matter of hours.
At the informational session I attended, I sat next to an elderly woman whose husband had recently passed away. She was 87 years old (and didn't look a day over 70, at least, with soft skin and a sprightly step) and her husband had passed away in October. She said, "I'm not ready to help with hospice patients yet, but I would like to do office work. I appreciate so much the help you gave me during his illness before he passed away, and I would like to give back somehow."
As we left that evening to return to our cars, a tiny vignette played out that in a single instant spoke to me of both her fresh loss, and her many years of marriage and companionship. It broke my heart, but on the other hand I was reminded that as they say, the only thing better than new love is old love.
We walked out the front door, and she said goodnight and went to her car. Pausing at the passenger door, she said quietly to herself, "Oops - wrong side again."
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