“I meet so many wonderful people who truly appreciate the time I devote to them, and find that [volunteering at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region] to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
~ J. Orr
To me, the inspiration that all of the elements of Hospice has just makes me try harder to do what small part I represent in hospice to the best of my ability. I strongly believe that we have to always take the bad with the good, but I also believe it is just as important to point out the good we sometimes take for granted. That is what is amazing about hospice. Hospice is geared to come into someone’s life when a patient's, and even the caregiver’s, world seems to be crumbling around them. To some it could not get any worse, and the timing of hospice could not be any better. Even in my perspective, I step into this unknown environment with only a simple smile, and an open heart of compassion. Yes, we have our training, but this moment goes far beyond that. That moment becomes a connection, whether it be a spiritual one or simply out of hope that the connection is never forgotten by anyone in that room. That connection is still filled with the same hope, the same kindness and compassion, the same respect of a situation none of us can understand, but for whatever reason we are all compelled to serve. Maybe in the grand scheme of things this truly is the wonder of Grace, never really worrying about why we are here, but simply thankful that we are, and just knowing we are here for all the right reasons. To me, that is inspiring within itself.
~ Jim Y.
“Most patients don’t have a future to look forward to, so talking about their past is very therapeutic for them. I enjoy listening to their stories, and I look forward to my weekly visits. I’ve gotten so much more out of [volunteering at Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region] than I have given.”
~ B. Fagan
“I never imagined that I would learn from my patients--the love, the caring, and the positive attitudes of some patients. The friendships I have made with the caregivers has been wonderful and loving.”
~ C. Harmon, 17-year volunteer
“Volunteering has been rewarding and a sense of contributing to the betterment of our community.”
~ S. Hankinson, 8-year volunteer
When I was 12 years old, my great-grandmother, who I was very close to, fell ill. Within a few days, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region was called in. During her last moments here on earth, hospice was able to support her and aid in easing her pain. After she passed, I became dedicated to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region and its cause. Since I was thirteen I have been volunteering for HPCCR, whether it has been baking cookies, working as an office assistant, or being part of the teen program. It has not only changed my life, but helped me sympathize with those who are ill. It has truly become a key part of my life.
~ C. Barrineau, teen volunteer
For the better part of a month, she found ways to turn down help. No, I don't need respite right now. My daughter will help. My son is coming. I have plenty of groceries. The truth, I sensed, was far different: I don't want to leave my husband with a stranger.
That all changed on a Sunday afternoon when she accepted our offer to bring a cake in celebration of their 35th anniversary and to provide music in their home. It was a gentle slice of time where doors-and hearts-opened.
The patient is a handsome and charming man who will not make it to his 55th birthday because of fast-moving brain cancer. They met when they were in high school-he a few years older. When his number came to the top of the Vietnam draft, he joined the Navy. They married before he left for war.
Fast forward to 2007. The cancer came out of the blue, turning what was to be a happy move to North Carolina into a nightmare. And in stepped Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region. The social worker suggested volunteers prepare an anniversary dinner. No thank you, she said, but the cake and music were appealing, both to be delivered on a muggy Sunday afternoon.
The bakery worker preparing the cake knew its destination and worked hard to make it special. She wanted to give. As I was picking it up, I thought about how hard it would be fore him not to have anything for his wife. I went to the flower desk, where a caring woman put together a small bouquet of roses, complete with Baby's Breath and a pretty ribbon. She wanted to give.
I arrived a bit early, before Lori, who would sing to them through her flute. As he struggled to get up to greet me, I took the roses to him and said I knew he would want to have flowers for his wife. His motor skills are not good, but he was able to take the bouquet from me. As tears rolled from his eyes, he lifted it to his wife's arms, and they kissed.
Lori came in and began playing-first some classical, then familiar show tunes, Ave Maria, then a simple "America the Beautiful". As she gave her talent, they returned smiles of recognition and appreciation. He can no longer sing in full voice, but we could tell he took great pleasure in trying. When I helped with the words to "If I Were a Rich Man", a broad smiled crossed his face. He tried to tell us how much they enjoyed singing with friends; she filled in the words when he could not find them. We did not stay long, for he tires easily, and this had been an effort of mind, body and spirit. As we left, her words told us that we had opened a door she had been fearful of opening before: "Will you come back?"
~ Jane Shoemaker